I don’t know about you but the word ‘heaven’ is not a neutral word for me, but rather a word that fills my heart with longing and expectation. It’s not a fairy tale invented for the benefit of children, nor a false comfort for the bereaved and struggling. Heaven is a real place, prepared for us by our loving Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus. Heaven is our real home, yet most of us have had only a vague glimpse of its splendour and glory.
I try to imagine what heaven is like as I read through the book of Revelation, and I suspect that my imaginings don’t even come close. The Bible speaks of streets of gold, gates of pearl and foundations decorated with every kind of precious stone (Revelation 21). I try to visualise the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne, and the tree of life on each side of the river. My heart does a little leap as I imagine drinking from that river and reaching out to eat the fruit from the tree. You and I will be able to do so unhindered because Jesus made this possible for us through His death and resurrection. Our robes will be washed and made white through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). How blessed (happy and to be envied) are we! We will see the face of God (Revelation 22:4), and will reign with him forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).
No more night! No more death! No more tears or mourning or pain. No more hunger, thirst or scorching heat (Revelation 7:16)! No more struggle with the sinful nature or living in the presence of evil. Nothing or no one impure will inhabit heaven ‘but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life’ (Revelation 21:27). ‘But what about the here and now?’ you may very well ask. ‘What about the travail, the wearisome toil and the constant struggle to be ‘light’ and ‘salt’ in a crooked and depraved generation?’ Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy, but He did promise to be with us always, to the end of the age. He also doesn’t ask us to persevere in our own strength and wisdom, but rather provides His enabling through the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian church to persevere because their work for the Lord would not be wasted or to no purpose (1 Corinthians 15:58). In other words He was saying ‘keep going! It’s not time to quit yet! The glory and reward that awaits you greatly outweighs the toil of this present journey’ (2 Corinthians 4:17).
‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord’ (Colossians 4:17).
Prayer: Thank You, God, for the certainly of heaven, and Your promise that You will reward each one of us according to what we’ve done here on earth. We’ll have all of eternity to celebrate our victories with You, but only a short time of earth to win them. Help us to be faithful to the end. Amen.
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