February 22, 2010
And he [an angel] carried me [John] away in the Spirit…and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper… And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones…And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. Revelation 21:9-12, 14, 18-20
The other day I read a National Geographic Adventure article about Yosemite National Park. The “must-do” hike it listed was to Vernal Fall, reached by trekking 1.5 miles up the Mist Trail, then climbing a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps.
I thought, I remember that trail! Joe and I were at Yosemite 25 years ago (!), and yet I vividly recall traipsing up those stairs, slick with the spray from the fall and filled with people coming and going.
Our final destination that June day in 1985 wasn’t the 317-foot fall, though, lovely as the plume is. We had to climb a bit higher to find what we’d really come for: Emerald Pool.
Now you must realize that green is my favorite color, emerald my jewel of choice. And this small lake is far and away the most wonderful shade I’ve ever seen. Its color comes from the algae on the rocks at the bottom of the water, and in the brilliant sunlight, Emerald Pool nearly took my breath away. That’s why I remember the hike so well: the sight of that sparkling water more than made up for the strenuous, crowded hike.
When I read the description of heaven in the final pages of Revelation, I can hardly take in how utterly gorgeous it will be. Not only will my preferred color by on full display, but also a host of other precious stones, the exact composition and color of some of them unknown to us. They will flash with startling luster along with the golden streets and the crystal clear river of life (Revelation 22:1), next to the perfect, milky pearls that make up the city gates (Revelation 21:21). And their radiance won’t come from the sun or the moon, but from God’s glory, seen at last in all its fullness (21:23, 22:5).
Weary traveler, keep your eyes on the end of the trail! We’ve got steep steps yet to climb, treacherous places to navigate and difficult situations to deal with, but at the end, all will be forgotten when we look into the shining face of the One who has already prepared it for us (Matthew 25:34, John 14:2).
“And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” Revelation 22:17