I have confessed before that I am a dreamer. This has its ups and downs. You’re always looking forward to something, but you’ll never get to see all your dreams fulfilled.
There are several things I would love to do. I would like to take my wife to Paris and spend a night at the Shangri-La Hotel. She has never been to Paris, but I have. A couple of times, I had a layover of a few hours there before the night train headed out to Budapest. While waiting, I walked the streets to experience the sights and sounds. On one of these walkabouts, I happened upon the Shangri-La Hotel. The first time I saw it, I said to myself, “One of these days, I’m going to bring my wife here.” There are more exquisite hotels in Paris, but the name Shangri-La intrigues me.
My wife and I have slept in some of the worst places in the world. I remember getting sick in the forest of Ukraine when it had rained nonstop for two weeks and was bitterly cold. I was living in a little concrete building about the size of a storage shed. It had no heat, no running water and no furniture, just a single mattress. And I wasn’t the only one using the mattress. It was full of varmints, and I could feel them moving around as I tried to sleep.
When I walk by an opulent place like the Shangri-La, I wonder what it would be like to spend a night there. I bet there are no varmints living in their mattresses. Are the sheets satin? I bet I couldn’t even pronounce the name of the soap. It would be filled with rich lanolin and oils infused with some kind of exotic perfume. I’m sure guests are treated like royalty. And the food? I imagine the Shangri-La employs only renowned chefs who see cooking more as art than order, with each course more decadent than the previous one.
I have looked online at the pictures of this hotel. It has one of the top 10 indoor swimming pools in the world. The reviews say the pictures don’t do it justice. I would like to walk into the foyer (pronounced with a French accent, “fo-yeah,” not like a Baptist, “foy-yer”) with my wife on my arm. No matter how beautiful the architecture, she would be the most stunning thing in the hotel. I can see her wearing that little diamond bracelet I bought her a long time ago. It isn’t fancy, but she does wear it well.
If any woman deserves to have something nice done for her, it is this one. When other couples were building a bigger house and buying a boat, she was cooking for hundreds of people over a single hot plate in Mexico while enduring extreme heat and long hours. While our peers were building their nest eggs, she was sleeping on all-night trains with five strangers, helping lead a group of students to towns that had never heard the Gospel. Can you see why I dream of doing something special for her? She is royalty, not because she met a handsome prince but because her Father is a King. I am married to the daughter of the King of kings. (2 Cor. 6:18)
God’s intention when He designed us as men was that we reflect His image and character. But because of the Fall, we seldom do. And the people who pay the price for our failure to live the way the Master Designer planned are our family members: our wives, our children and even ourselves. When our families look into our eyes, it should be the same as looking into God’s eyes. They should know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that they are individuals with worth and value. That way, they don’t have to go running off to the wrong places to find their worth. They already have it.
One of these days, my wife’s heavenly Father will take her back home to the palace. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John14:3). I’ve read about this place Jesus has prepared for us. It has streets of gold; there is no darkness, sickness or sorrow. The food will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. And its grandeur will make the Shangri-La of Paris look like a condemned building.
I guess I do reflect my Father’s love in a small way. I love my wife and want the best for her. Our heavenly Father loves us, and He has gone ahead to prepare the best for us: Heaven.