By Michael Risley
One of the best ways to find encouragement when life on earth gets tough is to think more deeply about where you will spend eternity: in heaven!
Years ago, Christians thought much more about heaven than we do today. It gave them perspective and strength in dealing with the challenges of life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
The way the Bible portrays heaven offers great hope. It says, “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. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:3-4).
Two powerful truths are expressed in this passage: First, God will be with you in a loving and more intimate relationship than ever before. Second, all the terrible things in your life will be no more.
Billy Graham once said, “Heaven will be a place in which its inhabitants will be freed from the fears and insecurities that plague us in the present life. We will be free from the financial pressures that burden us, free from the fear of personal and physical harm. Our relationship with Him will be intimate and direct. I’m looking forward to that glorious day of going to heaven.”
So as you think more about what God has planned for you in heaven, know this truth: Heaven is a real place, and it is more beautiful and wonderful than you can imagine.
The Bible describes heaven in Revelation 21-22 as a new earth with “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem” made with gold and precious stones. This new earth contains trees and rivers, and healthy vibrant people enjoying nature, productive activity, meaningful relationships, and delicious food! It will be a place of reuniting with departed loved ones. What elation when I see my mom whom I haven’t seen in almost 30 years!
Heaven will also be where every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship our great and loving God together. What excitement and pleasure there will be! In fact, we will experience overwhelming love, joy, and peace as we will be capable of enjoying the “fruit of the Spirit” perfectly!
C.S. Lewis said, “I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.”
May God give us the grace to live today as citizens of heaven, Christ’s ambassadors to the foreign land called earth. May we live today with the perspective that will be ours one moment after we die.
As I close, let me ask you a question: Are you at a place in your spiritual life where you can say for certain that if you die tonight, you’ll go to heaven?