Why it all makes sense

Saturday I took a drive in my Jeep along the Delaware River with the top down. The smells of the forest, the bird songs, the shafts of sun through the canopies of leaves made for a great ride. On the way home, I drove past a hotel where Bev and I stayed on the first night of our honeymoon in 1975. A tsunami of memories washed over me, scenes from 41 years of married life flashing through my mind in rapid succession. Smile if you will at an older man’s musing, but it is true:  life passes so quickly! Many advise us to make each day count. That is surely sound counsel but even in that good choice the days will fly by and the grave will stare back at us.

Did those memories make me sad? Yes, they did. I would be an ungrateful fool were I to fail to appreciate that God’s grace is mine in abundance, shown in the ways He has blessed me. I’ve known many comforts, great joys, deep friendships, the love of my late wife, watched my four amazingly wonderful children find their own success in the world.  

AND YET – even with a blessed life, eventually the music slows, the earthly joys fade, and only memories remain. What then?  Some will sing Solomon’s sad song of meaninglessness. “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV)

I will not! Why? Because there is more beyond. Though I have much more past than future at this point in my life here on earth, I know that I am just concluding the prelude to the real story. Paul writes of the compelling truth of Christ’s Resurrection, reminds us that we, like Him, will live forever. Then, he concludes “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

The paradox of the hope of eternal life that it actually makes life, here and now, richer! When we accept, by faith, that our Creator made us to love and serve Him, that we will know rest and communion with Him when we get Home, we are inspired to dig deep into the best that this life offers.

The late Dallas Willard reminds Christians that without a real conviction about Heaven and home we risk becoming disillusioned, even embittered, with the passing of time. “I meet many faithful Christians who, in spite of their faith, are deeply disappointed in how their lives have turned out. Sometimes it is a matter of how they experience aging, which they take to mean they no longer have a future. But often, due to circumstances or wrongful decisions and actions by others, what they had hoped to accomplish in life they did not …. Much of the distress of these people comes from a failure to realize that their life lies before themthe life that lies endlessly before us in the kingdom of God.” (The Divine Conspiracy

Christian, are you waiting to live that ‘eternal life’ when your body breathes your last breath?  What a mistake. WE are citizens of Heaven, now by the grace of Jesus Christ.  We can commune with the Lord of Glory now and in our worship and service we can bring Heaven to earth, even while we have a sincere expectation of glories yet to come.   

Let’s not diminish the compelling nature of God’s promise by indulging in romantic, baseless imaginations about heaven. Pop culture ideas have little connection with the truth. The images of the misty fog enveloping transparent spirits floating in a ghostly realm, that we will become angelic beings who strum harps while drifting in the clouds, are nonsense.

That Heaven is just a better version is earth is attractive but misses the truth by a mile, too. Heaven is a real place that was created by the God Who made the beauty of a rose that lasts a few days, the wonder of a sunset sky that fades in moments. It is actually beyond our ability to even imagine what He has made for us in a place that knows no time, no end. The best conversations, the deepest love for another, the most wonderful worship, the most blissful day – are just glimpses of what we will enjoy in our eternal Home!  

This is why it all makes sense. By faith, reach out and set your hope in Heaven.  Never lose sight of that place. When the chaos of the present overwhelms you, when temptation tries to distract you, when disappointment breaks your heart – thank God that He has written Heaven into your heart.  

Jesus’ words of promise are our word from the Word.  Read them, believe them; He promised. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3, NKJV)


Living Hope

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus Yours is the victory
Jesus Christ my living hope

Oh God You are my living hope

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham

© 2017 Phil Wickham Music (Fair Trade Music Publishing

[c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Sing My Songs (Fair Trade Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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