“They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.
Each birthday I celebrate creates anticipation rather than melancholy.
My thoughts and comments today are about “time and eternity.”
Live wisely each day that you are given. “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength, they are eighty years . . so teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:10/12. One’s years are limited and the number unknown. As I approach another birthday tomorrow, I am aware there are more years behind than remain. That reality creates anticipation in my heart rather than melancholy. I fully intend to enjoy life as long as I can, to savor its joys and extend its years. I choose to be numbered among those described as, “longing for a better country – a Heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.
The longing in the heart is not for just more of the same. The human spirit recognizes that man was made for much more than these limited years. Solomon declared it simply; “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV. You and I were created with an inner, insatiable desire for life – life abundant now and eternal forever, and for an eternal place to enjoy it. Heaven is just as real as the world that you now know and enjoy. Heaven is what makes death bearable, and Jesus’ sacrificial death essential.
To those for whom life has not seemed kind, God has promised every Christ-follower a place so much better. “And God shall 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.’” Revelation 21:4-5.
To those for whom life is good right now, eternal life will be exquisite. Paul was seldom without words except when he wrote of Heaven, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV.
A personal faith in Jesus prepares you for the place He has prepared for you. As a pastor, I have said too many final farewells to family and friends. Each tearful farewell is only temporary and has only made Heaven nearer and dearer. Jesus assured His worried disciples and us, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” Read John 14:1-4 NIV. The good news is this: when you invite and keep Christ in your heart as Savior, Heaven is where you go when you die. Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NIV/1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT. I do not want to imagine Heaven without you there.
Today, I pray for you to recognize that your longing for life is really about Heaven.