The Hope for a Future Home
"How Beautiful Heaven Must Be" is a song about the beauty of an eternal home where "there shall be no more death and the Lamb is the light". The text was written by Mrs. A. S. (Cordie) Bridgewater.
Mrs. Bridgewater, born in North Carolina, was married to A. Samuel Bridgewater from Tennessee. From 1909 to 1917, they lived near Hanceville, AL where Samuel farmed. It is believed that she composed the words to "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be" during this time. The couple left Hanceville around 1917, and no further records of them have been found.
The tune, Beautiful Heaven, was produced by Andy Pickens Bland. He was born on Nov. 13, 1876, in Dallas, TX to James Elgin and Allie Bland. They lived there for more than six more years before moving to Alabama where they farmed at Hanceville and Cullman area.
Farming and frequently working in a local sawmill, Bland married Array Jane Abercramb in 1900 and had seven children. She died in childbirth in 1918. Later, he was married to Anne Jane Smith and had four more girls. The song was published around 1920.
The song How Beautiful Heaven Must Be gives various explanations about why Heaven is such a beautiful place.
The first stanza says that it must be beautiful because it was made in God's word.
Stanza 2 explains that is beautiful because God's light is forever shining and there will be no dark times.
Third Stanza says it is beautiful because the water of life flows there and those who drink from it will be free.
Stanza four says that Heaven is beautiful because of the angels’ singing up there.
For some reasons, Stamps-Baxter removed the third stanza replaced it with one written by Dwight Brock in 1966 (who also changed the second line of stanza 1 to read, "Prepared for the pure and the free"). It says that Heaven is beautiful because it’s a place of fellowship with the redeemed of all ages.
The chorus emphasizes the fact that Heaven must be a beautiful place because it is the home of the happy and free" and the "fair haven of rest for the weary."
While there is so much that we don't know about Heaven, what God has revealed to us in the Bible should arouse hopefulness and longing in our hearts. Being a special home that is being prepared for us, it will be a place without pain or tears and it will be where we reunite with our loved ones.
Most importantly, when it is time for us to go there, Jesus will there and we shall eternally dwell with Him. We, who are God's children, can have the hope and assurance of Heaven because Jesus Himself said that He was going to create a special place for us where one day, He would come again and take us to that beautiful paradise. Yet Jesus said this about getting to heaven "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." The scribes and Pharisees were admired religious models - they were the good and the "holy" people.
Heaven is for those who believe in Jesus. When we begin a relationship with Him, that relationship lasts eternally. Jesus said, "whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." Regarding heaven, it's our decision now whether to believe in Him and accept His gift of eternal life.
Those registered in heaven, having been made perfect by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, will assemble with the company of angels before God.
When I think of Heaven, I think of impressive-looking mansions dotting the landscape of the foothills. I visualize the gates of heaven being formed out of ONE pearl and the streets were made of pure gold!
We know very little about Mrs. A. S. (Cordie) Bridgewater or the actual writing of How Beautiful Heaven Must Be but we can imagine that her life experiences and study of the Bible gave her this hope for a future home.
Are you burdened by the toils and challenges of this life? Are you discouraged by the happenings around you? Do sometimes fear the future? Do you sometimes feel that there is no hope for this world? Then lookup. Be encouraged. Jesus is preparing a place for us up there. Whether the angels will be singing and playing golden harps or not, we do visualize that Heaven will be more spectacular than we can imagine.
Tragedies remind us that while we have so many blessings of God in this life for which we should be grateful for, there are also many trials, challenges, problems, difficulties, heartaches, tribulations and sorrows on earth as well. At all times, and especially at times like these, we need to keep our faith in Him and remember How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.
Life on earth is temporary. To keep us from becoming too attached to what's around us, God allows us to feel a significant amount of dissatisfaction and discontent in life. We can never be completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be and everything is temporary! What we can see and touch in this life, we won’t be able to take with us into our next life.
Earth is not our final dwelling and we are made for something much more promising. We will not be here forever. We were not made to last here forever because God created us and put us here to carry out an assignment – His purpose.
When life gets tough or when you are overwhelmed with doubt, always remember that you are not home yet. And death doesn't mean you're leaving home, but it means you’re going home.
No matter how spectacular mansions in Heaven are, dwelling with Jesus eternally will be the best and greatest reward of all. To be welcomed into heaven, by the Way, the Truth, and the Life will be the culmination of the hope we have in Christ. I am excited about such a future. Are you?