By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
What is life about? The beginning, the middle, the end? Is it good or is it bad? Do we just live, or do we have a purpose in our living? For some people, it is just to get by. The Bible gives us instructions so that we can have a good life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
This passage from the Bible reminds us that there is a good life to be lived. But what about the end, death and burial and mourning?
The Word of God affirms that there is something great beyond this life for all who have believed in and entrusted themselves to Jesus Christ. That is, that the believer will dwell with God forever in Heaven.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of the just man made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
All who believe in Jesus Christ are destined for Heaven:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building form God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
“But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20,21)
What is Heaven like? It is being a new person. It is being akin to Christ. It is being with God and seeing the magnificence and beauty of his glory.
“The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:19-22)
We do not want to demean this life. There are many good things for those who will believe in and honor God. Nonetheless, when we look about, we see the murders in Chicago, the awful behavior of Stephen Paddock who murdered fifty people in Las Vegas and wounded 400 more. Harvey Weinstein, prominent and successful in Hollywood, who sexually harassed scores of women. We could go further with Isis in the Middle East and Kim Jong-Un in North Korea.
The life that God calls us to is incredibly better than what we see on earth all too often. God calls us to his life and his kingdom—in this life and in the life to come. We have many reasons to be joyful.