Looking for Clover: Our pursuit of Paradise in a wonky world—Death is not the end. It’s the beginning.

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Is this life all there is? Is there a resurrection? Or are we here to muddle around as best we can and hope and strive for a good life?

What does clover have to do with life and death? Consider clover a metaphor for significance, for purpose—for whatever it is that you think makes life worth living. Is it life for life’s sake? Carpe diem?

Carpe diem. Living life to the lees.

Seems inspiring, but the problem with this philosophy is that it’s absolutely unsustainable. We grow older, we get sick, we fight cancer or heart disease or a myriad of other ailments. It’s hard to seize the day when your arthritic fingers can barely seize the remote.

Life to the lees? Many can barely choke down their plastic cup of meds and juice.

Is this hopeful? YES!

Do you know that we’re made in God’s image and that he’s eternal? Do you realize what that makes us? God loves you and me and everyone reading these words with an EVERLASTING love. How would he love us everlastingly when we no longer exist? In memory?

“Today you will be with me in Paradise,” said Jesus to the penitent thief. He loved the man dearly and promised him eternal life with him and with God. He didn’t lie to him or offer some mild encouragement in the face of death.

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Heaven is the original Paradise. And one that can never be compromised by what some spiritual leaders call the “messiness” of our lives. It’s the real clover—the dazzling green and fresh stuff. And it’s well worth dying for.

Do you know that death is only a perishing of our broken bodies? When they dig that hole in the ground, it’s for our flimsy shells—it’s not for us. We won’t be there. Burial is for the living, not for the dead. They need it.

We need it like we need a hole in the ground.

I appreciate the exhortations to slow down and live. But these words make me wonder if people who write them know WHAT to live for. Our momentary lives are like hairs on a never-ending highway. Poof! Like a vapor—they’re over.

But real life is forever. Death is merely a portal to a richer, much more significant, ETERNAL life.

C.S. Lewis describes Heaven as a wondrous place where everything is deeper and brighter and more substantial. His words make this world seem like pale reflections of the greater world. The real deal.

God loves us infinitely more deeply than we can love each other and this momentary life. Do you know this?

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Here’s what encourages me.

These words were written by a man who talked with Jesus. I don’t mean talked in the form of prayer—I mean, he TALKED with Christ. And when he faced a sure and painful death, Paul wrote these words:

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed … then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

Now, that’s encouragement.

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