As I write this, I have just returned from the funeral service for fallen Phoenix Police Officer, Travis Murphy. Travis is the nephew of some long time friends of ours, Dale and Theresa Crull. Officer Murphy was only 29 years old and had a young daughter and a two-week-old son. As you can imagine, his dear wife is heartbroken. Our prayers and sympathy go out to Travis’ entire family.
Thankfully, Travis knew Christ as his Savior and had been born-again (John 3) years before.
As I continue this week in my series on “Heaven: Living here in light of there,” I want to focus a few thoughts that I pray will bring encouragement to your hearts.
As believers in Christ, having an eternal perspective should do two things for us and in us: 1) bring comfort to our hearts and 2) responsibility in how we live. This week, my focus is bringing “comfort” to our hearts.
A passage of Scripture that I have had memorized now for over 30 years and that has ministered to me time and time again as I have gone through hard times is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Here are these three “choice” verses…
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (NASB)
Or as Romans 8:18 says…
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Knowing that in heaven we will “rest from our labors” (Revelation 14:13) brings comfort. Life this side of heaven is often tiresome, tedious, painful and discouraging. Heaven reminds us that one day all of the “tiresome, tedious, painful, discouraging moments” will be eternally over, never to return! Only joy, happiness, peace, love, grace, kindness, righteousness and goodness will be present – forever! You will never be disappointed, discouraged, depressed or deceived ever again. You will never sin or make a wrong or unwise choice ever again! Imagine living in perfect righteousness every moment of every day – forever!
As the psalmist describes life in God’s presence…
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
C. S. Lewis said this about heaven…
“Joy is the serious business of heaven….In heaven, we will be strong, radiant, wise, beautiful and drenched in joy!”
According to Scripture, when we have a heavenly perspective, it takes the “sting” out of losing temporal possessions here on earth. The writer of Hebrews, speaking to believers who had gone through severe persecution and who had been imprisoned for their faith in Christ, said…
“You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions [in heaven]!” (Hebrews 10:34)
Imagine someone coming in and taking all your earthly possessions away – house, car, furniture, valuables…everything – and “joyfully” accepting it! How could a person do that? Because they “knew that they had better and lasting possessions [in heaven]!”
According to Hebrews 11, Abraham had a heavenly perspective as he went through life…
“For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God…having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:10, 13b, 16a)
My encouragement to you this week is: wake up each day with heaven on your mind (Colossians 3:1-4). And allow that eternal reality to bring you comfort as you go through your day…knowing that whatever trials and tribulations, problems or pains that you may be facing, in comparison to eternity, they will be over before you know it!
An eternal perspective: It makes all the difference in the world!
Live “here” in light of “there!”