How awesome would it be if we are in heaven and in God’s presence right now! It is what every believer wishes. For we no longer will be in sorrow, pain, trouble or fear. It’s a place of perfect rest. On earth and in the flesh we face various factors that affect us both physically and mentally. As much as we do not want them, they somehow make their way into us. Though God constantly sends His peace into us to overcome them, heaven is one place where we will not face them anymore; it is a place where we do not have to struggle against the forces of the world. God has given us a fantastic privilege and opportunity through Jesus Christ to rest from all our endeavors, fears, turmoil and heartaches. As Christians if we are able on our part to look forward to heaven and the multiplicity of joy in it, the things that threaten to hurt and cause us sorrow in this life will seem small. Because the hope of having a perfect life will diminish the effect of those that seek to belittle us.
God has great concern for His children. He has prepared a place for them where they will never lack or feel sad. Many a believer does not often regard it. Part of the reason is the worries of the flesh, the work of Satan and of his cohorts. If they constantly bear God’s concern in mind and are able to believe in the better things, they can be sure of having a victorious life on earth. For no matter the case since their ultimate destiny is heaven nothing in this life can overcome them. So, what is it that God offers us in heaven? And why is it so special and better than life on earth? John explains it from his vision. “On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).
In his vision John saw believers being satisfied every day and every month perpetually. He saw they need not look anywhere else. The twelve kinds of fruit speak that God was not just providing believers with the same thing, but a variety of things. They never felt bored, regret or stagnant. Not only this, but for all the things they suffered on earth they received treatment. They were healed of every pain, sorrow and heartache; they were being taken care of. Everyone would forever forget all the sufferings they went through because of the leaves. Their joy never ends, because the tree never fades. It was necessary for God to let believers understand His choice for them so that they will always be with the hope of better things.
We may think of life on earth as burdensome and with troubles. In a true sense it is. And if it is not for the peace and comfort we obtain as compensation from Christ, we would be with hopelessness. It is not always easy to overcome situations and be satisfied. Trouble is never too far when living for Jesus. There are many angles by which it falls upon us. God has given several cases in the Word as to why life on earth is difficult for us, and for this reason, heaven is the perfect place He prepared for us. Let us look at two cases for the time being.
- The Adversary chooses it for us, since God has chosen us for Himself. So, we are forced to have a life of contentment and of good management; in heaven it is not needed. Paul had to learn it as well. He said, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (4:12). Life forces every believer for it, as we do not belong to the world. The difficulty of leading a righteous life lies in Paul’s words. It is seldom an even platform. At times we have enough or more than enough and at times we are in dire need. Even when we have plenty, there are times we are greatly in need of deliverance. Why should it be this way? Why did Paul have to go through it and then give us a view of what living for Christ would be like? It is because,
- We must overcome the world and the flesh to bring glory to God and Christ. We are a different creation, a new one.
- God has made us examples of faith and righteousness to be an encouragement to others and to those who are yet to know Him.
- Life on earth is difficult, since we must escape obstacles, run from enemies, face delays and alter our plans. What we expect does not always happen and what others want for us seems to happen. Again, we see Paul with this scenario. “And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia” (Acts 20:3). He had to look for survival, change his route and be on the run. It was a very difficult life he faced. We may not exactly replicate his life, who served as an evangelist, but as believers we are never left alone by the Adversary and the world that heeds him.
Having known how difficult life on earth is, we still cling on to the hope of heaven, because of what we believed. “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). Heaven is made possible for us by Christ. When He rose from death, and we believed, it is all that is enough for us to look forward to the goodness of heaven so that the difficulties of this life appear as light affliction.
Because of what we have been offered in heaven by God, let us not succumb to difficulties and faint from doing the duty God has given us to do on this earth. Every one of us is called and each one’s purpose comes from God. So, if you have a purpose, the following applies to you.
- Keep following Christ. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men’” (Mark 1:17). No matter the difficulties you face, remember Christ has overcome them all. He will help you overcome them as you show zeal to follow Him. He makes you a fisherman of men by the purpose He gave you. And for this you do not have to be a preacher or a pastor.
- Think like Christ. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work’” (John 4:34). It is necessary to think like Him when you are following Him. Then, your zeal will not perish. Listen to Him closely. Whatever He inspires you to do from the Word and by the Spirit, make it your food. He is sending you or using you for His kingdom. When you strive to do His will, He will erase the difficulties you face. Paul eventually reached Jerusalem through Macedonia, covering more places and accomplishing much more for Christ.
- Let your faith have its full result. The gospel you heard will produce faith in you that will have a result. But, you determine that result when “your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5). Always depend on God’s power, for in it is wisdom, guidance, immense strength, righteousness and truth.