Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven.
It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven...why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is the proper end and true happiness?-Jonathan Edwards
Life in this world-the way it is now and the way we are now-isn't easy, is it?
Perhaps you're burdened, discouraged, depressed, or even traumatized. Perhaps you've lost a loved one. Perhaps your dreams-your family, your career, or lifelong ambitions-have crumbled. Perhaps you've become cynical or have lost hope. A biblical understanding of the truth about Heaven can change all that.
Secular optimists are merely wishful thinkers. Having discovered the present payoffs of optimism, they conduct seminars and write books about positive thinking. Sometimes they capitalize on optimism by being rich and famous. But then what happens? They eventually get old or sick, and when they die, they are unprepared to meet God. Their optimism is ultimately an illusion, for it fails to take eternity into account.
The only proper foundation for optimism is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. If we build our lives on this solid foundation, we should all be optimists. Why? Because even our most painful experiences in life are but temporary setbacks. Our pain and suffering may or may not be relieved in this life, but they will certainly be relieved in the life to come. That is Christ's promise-no more pain or death; he will wipe away our tears. He took our sufferings on himself so that one day he might remove all suffering from the world. That is the biblical foundation for our optimism. Any other foundation is like sand, not rock. It will not bear the weight of our eternity.
No Christian should be pessimistic. We should be true realists-focused on the reality that we serve a sovereign and gracious God. Because of the reality of Christ's atoning sacrifice and his promises, biblical realism is optimism.
By meditating on Heaven and learning to look forward to it, we don't eliminate our pain, but we can alleviate it and put it in perspective. We're reminded that suffering and death are only temporary conditions.
Jesus came to deliver us from fear and death, "so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by fear of death" (Hebrews 2:14-15)
In light of the coming resurrection of the dead, the apostle Paul asks, "Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Set your sights on Jesus Christ, the Rock of salvation. He is the one who has promised to prepare a place for those who put their hope in him, a place where they will live with Him forever. If we can learn to fix our eyes on Jesus, to see through the fog and picture our eternal home in our mind's eye, it will comfort and energize us, giving us a clear look at the finish line.
Ask God to help you see the shore.
O Gracious God, Father of all promise and hope, maker of a world that was once perfect and one day will be perfect again, help us to look beyond the fog of this world. Help us to see the shore of the homeland that awaits us-a glorious, eternal Kingdom purchased by the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and the King of Kings. Amen