Finding the Right Architect

Have you seen this San Antonio house stuck in the 1970s? The slide show here proves that some homes age well, but even so there are telltale signs that this place was a product of the 70s.

At least it doesn't have orange shag carpet

At least it doesn’t have orange shag carpet

The 70s were my teen years and I cringe at the home décor I saw in some of my friends’ houses. My career years, to my great delight, have been spent among much nicer architecture and fixtures.

See the space between the right hand columns? My office window is in their on the top floor.

See the spaces between the columns? My office windows are in there on the top floor.

This is a grand old building, constructed in 1917 and built to last a century. It is also woefully outdated, containing only 8 courtrooms when we need 13. That means we have judges in makeshift facilities in three locations nearby.

We’re in the middle of a building project for a new courthouse a couple blocks away. One problem with new construction is trying to make it look as fitting as the neo-classical building we now have. It can’t be replicated because no one has the money to build like that any more. Still, I think we’re doing well with the design and construction. Here’s what the new courthouse will look like.

New%20Courthouse%20Model

I’m the really tiny person off to the left

Trying to build something that will be functional and in good taste for a hundred years is hard. Can you imagine building something that will never need replacing for all eternity? That’s what God is doing.

The Divine Architect

Just hours before his death, Jesus spend time reassuring his friends that he is not leaving them forever.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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. (John 14:2-3.)

This is a scenario they’d understand well, since Jesus is talking about the preparations a Jewish groom would make for his bride. After initiating the betrothal, the groom returns to his father’s house to prepare a room for him and his wife to live in. It could mean partitioning off a small space for some privacy, building a small room on as an addition to the house, or constructing a whole new wing or building in a large family compound.

Jesus gives them the same assurance a groom gives the bride: I’ll return to you and bring you home with me.

The house of God is not just the place where Jesus will bring those who belong to him, though. The people of God are themselves the house of God.

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:6.)

The building program is not finished, though. John returned to the theme when he wrote the last portion of Revelation.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

… The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.

… I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:2-3, 18-19, 22.)

God’s people are the Bride of Christ and they are the House of God itself; the new City of God is also the Bride of Christ; and the Temple of God in the new City is God himself.

It all lasts for eternity, and no architect but God could build it.

***

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12 Responses to Finding the Right Architect

  1. A great thought. I think we tend to think and talk a lot about the preparations we ought to make for eternity, whereas it is such a comfort to be reminded of the amazing life God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9)! It is truly a blessing to know that our Lord has prepared for us to live with Him in glory, for eternity.

    • Tim says:

      Good point, Manie. Christ has prepared the way and the place, and we are blessed to enjoy them for eternity. Why get sidetracked thinking there’s more I need to do to be prepared?

      • Why indeed. I would venture to suggest that we – people in general – hate feeling not in control or dependent on someone else. Which is why, I think, God’s grace can be so hard to accept, even though it’s free. Jesus said we must become like little children, and I think little children are generally OK with not taking responsibility for making the world go round and with depending on their parents for things.

  2. Jeannie says:

    This got me thinking, Tim: in mid-December, here in Kingston, a 400-unit apartment complex that was in the process of being built burned to the ground in a massive inferno. This building was intended to welcome at least a thousand student tenants this September; at the time of the fire about half the units were already leased. Though no lives were lost in the fire, a crane operator had to be rescued by helicopter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kXF8bgsGqU) and is still recovering from burns. And the people who THOUGHT they had apartments to live in this fall when they come to university no longer have them. It just reminds me that the things we might depend on here on earth — even the most basic good things like a dwelling — can’t really be the focus of our hope. Only God’s goodness and provision for us, present and future, can.

    • Tim says:

      That hope in what God has prepared for us rather than our own preparations seemed to come up more than once in Jesus’ parables too, Jeannie. It’s an important theme in the kingdom, apparently.

  3. Heaven will be so grand. Love Randy Alcorn’s books on heaven including his New York Times best-selling “Heaven”. Since I will turn 70 this year, I may get there before your new courthouse gets built. Wonderful thought, but in His time.

  4. Aimee Byrd says:

    Great reminder, Tim. This eternal perspective, and also the exhortation that God is dwelling in us now, does encourage me to live as I have been called. The temple of God! Wow. I am thankful that his Holy Spirit is applying Christ’s work in me, as I do hold fast to this promise. He will make us ready for that great day, praise God!

    • Tim says:

      So true, Aimee. We are indwelled by the spirit of Christ, a more intimate way of residing than could have ever been possible under the Old Covenant with God dwelling with his people by way of the tabernacle.

      I never would have thought of writing this post if the courthouse I work in hadn’t come up in the conversation you and I had last week. Interesting how God works through all these things!

  5. Mary Anne says:

    “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

    I think about this:

    1) When I see some beautiful (and too expensive) home on HGTV and am sick with envy, wishing I had a house like that

    and
    2) When my body acts up, displaying signs of advancing age, not working properly as it once did.

    The verse does not always, I regret to say, do away with my feelings of envy and discontent, but it’s still something to think about . . .

    • Tim says:

      That passage is full of eternal blessing, Mary Anne, but I agree that sometimes I too don’t always find that my awareness of those blessings keeps me from envy and discontent. in the home Jesus has prepared for us, thank God, we will have no occasion for either envy or discontent. Wonderful joy is what we’ll know instead, amen.

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