Sure, not everyone loves hymns (my mom would gasp at that!) but I appreciate the repeated refrain from this hymn of the 1800s which states, “When this passing world is done, When has sunk yon glaring sun, When we stand with Christ in glory, Looking o’er life’s finished story, Then, Lord, shall I fully know—Not till then—how much I owe.” Another verse declares, “When I stand before the throne, Dressed in beauty not my own, When I see Thee as Thou art, Love Thee with unsinning heart, Then Lord, shall I fully know—Not till then—how much I owe.”
When I read in Revelation 7 about the masses shouting and waving palm branches, making the roar of an earthly Super Bowl crowd sound like a whisper, I think of this hymn. As much as I want to, I don’t think I’ll be able to fully appreciate what Jesus has done for me until I reach heaven. Obviously, the people described in chapter 7 are finally realizing it and exploding with joy as a result. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that salvation isn’t enough of a gift and it’s not until I get to move into a heavenly mansion that I’ll be impressed. That’s not my point at all. My point is that I can’t yet to grasp the full potency of the rescue and victory from this side of eternity. My brain is too finite and my imagination too pea-sized.
Let me put it another way with an earth-side example–years ago my husband and I had an opportunity to live in a small house rent free in exchange for providing companionship to a dear elderly woman who lived in a larger house on the same property. We thought it was a great opportunity help this lady and to save some money, so we moved into the house in the heat of late August. In early September my husband lost his job. It wasn’t until then that we truly appreciated what God had done for us–in a time of financial strain, he provided a free roof over our heads. In October of that same year, I was faced with a potential (albeit wrongful) law suit against me (long story there). There was no better time to be poor and living in a house we didn’t own–who’d want to sue a person with nothing? I had no idea when we were moving into the house in August how much we would owe God for providing us with a home and protection.
I realize that’s just a tiny example, but it goes to my point that I don’t think we’ll realize how glorious the gift of salvation is until we’re on the other side hooting and hollering with the crowds dressed in white.