Words by Scott McCullar | Image by Al Blanton
A stroke. Cancer. COVID. Heart attack. Murder. War. Divorce. Hate. Death. All of these are gut-wrenching reminders that we are not in Heaven. You might say that’s obvious, but is it?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am convinced that people plant themselves in this world and expect a blossom now meant only for Heaven: they expect most things to work out right, never go wrong, bad times to always be avoided, and good times to always be with them. And when life breaks down, heartbreaks occur, or a loved one dies, God gets all the blame and anger.
Why did You do this to me? Why did You allow this to happen? Why didn’t You heal my loved one? Why didn’t I get that job? “It’s YOUR fault, God,” they say. “I’ll never forget how You let me down.”
Simply put, so many try to make this world Heaven. But it isn’t. Jesus made this very clear.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
Undoubtedly, the Lord counsels us not to expect this world to be Heaven. True, it’s not always terrible here, but life can turn sour fast – in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s a tornado destroying your community, your loved one dying suddenly, someone who irreparably harms you, or a disease that robs you of your vitality, your life can turn on a dime. Life will hit you in the face with the truth that this sin-corrupted world is not Glory.
Again, consider the words of Jesus: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Jesus says that you will absolutely have trouble and strife in this world, but thankfully, Jesus has overcome this world. So does this mean life will be perfect here? Not at all. Rather, it means that as you follow Jesus, pray to Him, and absorb His teaching and life, you can have peace and joy while you are not in Heaven yet.
Look at how amazing and incredible Heaven is as it is described in Revelation 21:3-7.
And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
Doesn’t this pull at your heart? Everything we want God to make real on this earth is already nailed down for us in Heaven. The desire that we have in our hearts to be with God forever and for all things to be made right is irrevocably secured for us as believers after this life.
So why would God let us endure what’s here before we enjoy what’s there? Because, friend, after all, we have gone through on this earth and in this life, we will never take for granted what God offers us in the next.
I long for Heaven, don’t you? Oh, how I can have peace knowing I have trusted Christ as my Savior and joy realizing Heaven is waiting for me because of Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins and His resurrection from the dead for my victory over death and hell. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
But wait… What do we do now while we wait for our day to enter the gates of Glory? Jesus explains this, too:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.
So, let’s get to work. It won’t be long before we see our Savior face to face. And what a day that will be! WL
Bro. Scott McCullar is the pastor at First Baptist Church of Carbon Hill in Carbon Hill, Alabama.