Many years back, may be at least two decades ago, I read this simple story of a swan and a crane and their conversation about heaven. The story goes something like this:

One day a beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails.

For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:
"Where do you come from?"

"I come from heaven!" replied the swan.

"And where is heaven?" asked the crane.

"Heaven!" said the swan, "Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?"

And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.

Finally the crane asked: "Are there any snails there?"

"Snails!" repeated the swan; "No! Of course, there are not."

"Then," said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, "You can have your heaven. I want my snails!"

Many of us are like the crane. We fail to understand the grandeur and beauty of heaven so as to long for it intensely. Heaven and the things in it are much better than our best possessions and the riches of this world. Yet, we love this world so much. We often talk about heaven but lacks sincerity. We are so used to the vanities of the world. We treasure our “snails” and are even willing to trade the joy and happiness of heaven for it.

Why are we so stubborn? Why do we hate to give up our “snails”?

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

If only we can truly understand the things which God has prepared for!

Lord, teach us to understand and desire the things of heaven. Help us to disregard worldly materials and seek only things of you. 

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