It is very easy to become discouraged and disheartened by what is happening now, in the current chapter of the story of your life. But do you stop to think that no matter what your age, no matter what your stage in life, this is not the final chapter of your story? And if you are a Christian, and this is your final chapter here on earth, it still is not the final chapter of the story!
Remembering that this is not the final chapter of your story can be difficult, but it is true…even if it is your final chapter here on earth!
If you have more chapters to go in your story here on earth, which is very likely, there will come a day when you will look back on this hard time as a time you might not want to repeat, but one where you learned much!
For a couple of years, I was in a small Bible study group with only older women. It was the first time I had ever been in one with only women our age. It didn’t last for long because the other groups wanted older women in their groups too! But while it lasted, I learned some things I hadn’t learned before, in groups that were mixed. We all agreed that hard times are great for our growth. We realized that there were ways we never would have grown in our spiritual lives without some of the hard times we went through. We all were thankful for those times as we looked back.
What will heaven be like?
But the other part of the story is that waiting ahead for those of us who belong to Christ is heaven. Once we leave this earthly part of our story, we will move on to heaven. When we are asked, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” by GOD, our answer can be a confident “Because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements for me and paid the sacrifice for me fully on the cross. My ability to come to heaven has nothing to do with anything I have done, but only because of Jesus.”
Then we will be in a most delightful place. It will have the presence of GOD and all His attributes. There will be the total absence of anything evil, dark, decaying or destructive in any way. Everything will be creative, life-giving, full of light and joy. There will be no tears or sadness. (unimaginable!) There will be the peace of shalom…where we are all at peace with ourselves and one another and GOD. These parts of heaven are difficult to imagine, aren’t they?
But also, it will be unimaginably beautiful! Imagine, the colors, the music, the plants. There will never be a weed or dissonant chord. There will never be a color that we will think, I wish it were a shade different. It will always be perfect! Our eyes will all be perfect to see all the colors and the beauty there. We won’t have any of our human limitations that we have now.
And we will most likely have creative work to do as well. After all, we will be there for eternity! We will have the galaxies at our disposal.There will be places to explore. Who knows what we will be doing? I’m sure we won’t be sitting around idle. The picture of us floating on clouds playing harps is totally not Biblical…for which I”m thankful.
By contrast, what will it be like in Hell?
By contrast, Hell will be dark. There will be no light, therefore no colors. Can you imagine living in a place of black and white, only very little white? Being depressed ALL the time without antidepressants, only there is no escape to suicide? Hell isn’t one big happy party. Hell is the absence of all of GOD’s attributes, remember? There is no place for enjoyment of friends. There are no friends. There is no camaraderie or companionship. There is only the presence of Satan and his “attributes.” This isn’t meant to be scary. Just factual. GOD is not there. There will not be one single one of HIs attributes there. Imagine how horrible that will actually be!
On earth, there is common grace. This is GOD’s creation. We can see His image everywhere even though it has been marred by the effects of sin. But in Hell, there won’t be any of the effects of GOD or His attributes of love, joy, peace, etc. in that place. There will be no honesty or integrity; no kindness or goodness. GOD’s influence will not be there… forever.
Eternity is a very long time. It does not end…ever! We want to know that the truth we have based our lives on is actually true.
So be prepared for that last and final chapter that will last the longest time…forever!
So prepare for the final chapter of your life, eternity. This is going to be the time you will spend worshipping GOD and thanking Jesus for providing the way for you to enter heaven.This is when you will have the time to worship Him and thank Him for the gift of grace he has given us…forgiveness!
This is when we spend time with those throughout history who were part of the family of GOD! Imagine sitting down and visiting with a couple of the apostles and talking about their time with Jesus on earth? Or Joshua and the wonderful works GOD did through their army as they possessed the land GOD had given them! Or the many amazing stories that took place over generations as the gospel was spread throughout the world?
No matter how hard our years on earth were, we are told that heaven will be glorious by any comparison. Enjoy the embrace of GOD and the presence of Him with you for now. Realize that in heaven, anyone we meet will be great, but nothing will be better than meeting Jesus!
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us
an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.II Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV