What shall we be, and whither shall we go,
When the last conflict of our life is o'er,
And we return from wandering to and fro
To our dear home through heaven's eternal door;
When we shake off the last dust from our feet,
When we wipe off the last drop from our brow,
And our departed friends once more we greet,
The hope which cheers and comforts us below?
What shall we be, when we ourselves shall see
Bathed in the flood of everlasting light,
And from all guilt and sin entirely free,
Stand pure and blameless in our Maker's sight,
No longer from His holy presence driven,
Conscious of guilt, and stung with inward pain,
But friends of God and citizens of heaven,
To join the ranks of His celestial train?
What shall we be, when we drink in the sound
Of heavenly music from the spheres above,
When golden harps to listening hosts around
Declare the wonders of redeeming love;
When far and wide through the resounding air
Loud Hallelujahs from the ransomed rise,
And holy incense, sweet with praise and prayer,
Is wafted to the Highest through the skies?
What shall we be, when the freed soul shall rise
With unrestrained and bold aspiring flight
To Him, who by His wondrous sacrifice
Hath opened heaven, and scattered sin's dark night;
When from the eye of faith the thin veil drops,
Like wreaths of mist before the morning's rays,
And we behold, the end of all our hopes,
The Son of God in full refulgent blaze?
What shall we be, when we shall hear Him say,
"Come, O ye blessed;" when we see Him stand,
Robed in the light of everlasting day,
Before the throne of God at His right hand;
When we behold the eyes from which once flowed
Tears o'er the sin and misery of man,
And the deep wounds from which the precious blood,
That made atonement for the world, once ran?
What shall we be, when hand in hand we go
With blessed spirits risen from the tomb,
Where streams of living water softly flow,
And trees still flourish in primeval bloom;
Where in perpetual youth no cheek looks old
By the sharp touch of cruel time imprest,
Where no bright eye is dimm'd, no heart grows cold,
No grief, no pain, no death invades the blest?
What shall we be, when every glance we cast
At the dark valley underneath our feet,
And every retrospect of troubles past
Makes heaven brighter and its joys more sweet;
When the remembrance of our earthly woe
Gives a new relish to our heavenly peace,
And draws our heart to Him, to whom we owe
Our past deliverance and our present bliss?
What shall we be, who have in Christ believed?
What through His grace will be our sweet reward?
Eye hath not seen, ear heard, or heart conceived,
What God for those who love Him hath prepared.
Let us the steep ascent then boldly climb,
Our toil and labour will be well repaid;
Let us haste onward, till in God's good time
We reap the fruit, a crown that doth not fade.
C. J. P. Spitta,
trans by H. Massie
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
.....while we live here we are always children of hope; not miserable, because we
have a sweet taste of what we hope for, and not perfectly happy, because we want
fulness. Before Christ they hoped for his coming in the flesh; since Christ, we look
for his 'second coming in glory;' in grace we look for glory; and when our souls are in
glory, they look for the redemption of the bodies, and for the day of restoring of all
things. 'How long, Lord, how long?' Rev. 6:10. Else would this life be heaven to us;
and we should not desire or pray, 'Lord, let thy kingdom come.’.....This should whet
in us our desires and prayers for our heavenly estate; and not make our heaven
here on earth, but desire earnestly the full harvest, by considering how excellent the
first-fruits of glory in this life are; and with the creature, Rom. 8:19, 'wait, and expect,
and long, and groan for the time of the dissolution of all things;' and make this a note to
discern of our estate; for it is a certain infallible token of a good frame of spirit in us,
if we can long for that better life in the fulness, that we have here; that we can desire
to be with Christ. Furthermore, note this as a difference between the estates of
the wicked and the godly. The wicked must look for worse and worse continually.
His best is here, and while he hath this world; but the godly, their worst is here, their
best is to come.
Richard Sibbes, D.D.