We don’t often talk about Heaven, but we should. Heaven helps people keep perspective. And it gives something to look forward to, especially if your life is filled with suffering and difficulties. Heaven nurtures hope.
Phil. 3:20 says, “. . . our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ . . .” That second phrase, the very idea that Jesus is coming from Heaven to take you home, gives perspective. Knowing Christ is very aware of your hardships, helps you each day. To know He is making an amazing, eternal future for you with no suffering gives hope even in times of suffering. But you still have to get through your current situation.
When you suffer, your experience is very real. It is costly. Your situation needs attention and must be managed. Your suffering is not inconsequential. Even more important – Heaven or no Heaven – you need help, love, attention, and comfort . . . now. You need intervention, mercy, companionship, and guidance . . . now.
Your present sufferings are difficult, sometimes terrible. They may be extremely unfair as they severely shape your life and future. As you endure, it seems trivial to say they will fade into something lovely someday. When you literally groan inwardly as you suffer, what you need is real hope.
It’s not just you that suffers. You are not alone in wishing things were better. All creation suffers as it waits in eager expectation for Heaven. Creation was subjected to all kinds of disorder, decay, and death when people sinned. Believe me! If it wouldn’t have been Adam and Eve who blew it, it would have been me or you who sinned. All creation now suffers. It was never meant to be this way. It’s not God’s design.
Present sufferings engulf people, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the very earth. The planet and all her people long to be set free from this bondage.
God’s Word says creation groans, just like you may groan under extreme stress and strain. Don’t you see it in the storms that lash and destroy, the flood waters that drown and damage, the fires that snuff out life and lick up resources, the earth that loses its foothold, crushing and devastating? Living things die. Other life plunders and kills. Animals search for food even as humans eek out a living. We get diseases. We die. Yes, we all groan. Surely, this was not the original, glorious plan! Where is Heaven in all this?
When hope is gone, you have nothing left. The good news? There is eternal hope. Hope is something a person waits for, looks for, eagerly expects, and holds onto ahead of time. When hope is fulfilled, you no longer need it. Until it is fulfilled, you wait in it.
Jesus, Himself, suffered side by side with people in this difficult life. With no sin in His heart, He took up all infirmities, burdens, sufferings, and sins to carry them to the cross – pulling it all away from you. Man of Sorrows.
Jesus is also called “Man of Joy.” Why? Because He brings hope. Jesus not only created all things. He carried out the work of hope. He knows how things end. The “Man of Joy” knows Heaven is coming.
When compared to the glorious future Jesus is preparing for you, current reality will become like the law. For centuries, people who believed God lived under the Old Testament Law. But ever since Jesus came and conquered sin and death, the Law has no power over you. Through Christ, it has been fulfilled. Completed. And it is now obsolete. In its place, something wonderful is coming – a perfect life in Heaven. Hope, fulfilled. Imagine what that will be like, and it will never end.
You will be a “person of joy.” Gone will be the “person of sorrow.” So much more is coming. Soon!
1 Thess. 4:16 says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Article developed from Rom. 8:18-25.