No matter how you were hurt or how greatly you failed Yesterday was the last day of the past of your life – Today is the first of the rest!
I see myself at heaven’s door
I can hear its hinges creak
Around its frame a light shines out
As it opens before the King
What have you brought He asks
From the life you lived on earth?
Oh not a lot I sadly say
As I struggle to begin
Well, there were the mission’s trips
And every day I prayed
And regularly I read your word
And all the tithes I gave
When I stopped – he paused and gently said
That’s not why angels sing
Those were not from your deepest heart
But just temporary things
But the forgiveness you gave your parents
When their divorce left you alone
And the love you shared with strangers
When you opened up your home
And the tears of repentance that you wept
And your confession in the dark
These are the things that I truly treasure
And for these there is a crown
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Psalm 73:25
Hoping for heaven has sometimes been given a bad rap by the church. Some of this has been a push back on old hymns and past sermons that focused exclusively on heavenly bliss and ignored the importance of our time on earth. But neither our greatest victories, our worst failures, our highest dreams nor our worst sufferings can compare with what lies ahead for us in heaven.
When our boys were young they made for themselves wooden plaques with their names carved in them to hang over the doors to their rooms. It was their way of staking out their own personal territory. In the same way God has staked out a territory in heaven for each of us who have put our hope in Jesus Christ. He has engraved our name over the door of our home there. There is nothing wrong with that great joyful longing to be together forever with Jesus in the place He has prepared for us. We can say with David, “Who do I have either in heaven or earth but you Lord?” This hope of heaven strengthens our hearts in life’s storms and lightens our load so we can carry the burdens of others. This hope shines through any dark night and lights our path all the way to our home!
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5
Have you ever been so down that you just couldn’t even sing even in church? You don’t need to feel alone because even King David the writer of the song book of the Bible, came to that place; and said so not once, not twice but three different times. David had bravely faced had Goliath and defeated him, but when he found himself hunted by his father-in-law and some of the same soldiers with whom he had fought beside in battle he became discouraged. Then his wife was taken from him and given to another man and he was separated from his best friend Jonathan and was forced to hide in the countryside. That was when he reminded himself that he would again praise God because all his hope came from Him. Yes, there are times when we as believers struggle to praise God. But God’s word gives us hope so that at those exact moments we can say, “Hold on! This is not the end! There is still hope! I will praise Him again!
And I will wait upon the Lord , that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Isaiah 8:17 KJV
As I drove up the road this week I was greeted by a mother deer with two fawns. They lingered just long enough for me to snap a few shots then bounded off to a hidden place in the woods.
But God does not hide His face in that way. In fact it is our own sin and selfishness that hides his face from our eyes. No in fact our greatest hope is in a God who longs to be found!
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 ESV
Your life may be the only Bible someone else will come across. Live it true to the hope that God has pit inside us and they may stop to read
When we forget our eternal hope in Christ and begin focusing on the things of this world His light shines just a little less to the people around us. But when we sink under the waves, others will be sure to ask us what it felt like walking hand in hand with Jesus when we climb back into the boat!
Our hope in Jesus Christ through every difficulty is that He works all things together for good. Sometimes God’s master plan is that our sufferings today will be the seed of His grace in the lives of others tomorrow. And in everything it will always be forever for our good!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose Romans 8:28