Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” And isn’t it true? We look forward to getting home, because at home we’re comfortable. At home we can be ourselves. At home we can wear comfortable clothes that are probably not fit for wearing in public. Home is a comfortable place.
The Bible says that God has placed eternity in our hearts (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). Because of this, we’re longing to be home again. We have a homesickness for Heaven.
But what is Heaven, actually? It’s a place, not a mere state of mind. Heaven is the dwelling place of God Himself. Heaven is home. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2–3 NKJV).
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I’m still pretty young, so I’m not really thinking too much about this.”
Regardless of your age, you never know when life will end. But here’s something else to consider: Death is one way to get to Heaven. The other is by way of a future event, an event the Bible calls the “blessed hope.”
I’m speaking of the rapture of the church when believers will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The Bible speaks of this in Titus 2:13: “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (NKJV).
The hope of Heaven isn’t wishful thinking or blind optimism. It’s a quiet confidence. It’s a supernatural certainty. As a Christian, I know deep in my heart that I’m indeed a child of God. The Bible tells us, “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16 NLT).
What a great thing it is to have this certainty, this hope, that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I will meet the Lord one day. I love the following acronym for hope: holding on (with) patient expectation.
This applies to life in general. When you’re facing a crisis, when you have a marriage that’s unraveling, when you have a prodigal child, you need to hold on with patient expectation. This means recognizing that God is in control of your life and that He can work all things together for good. There’s a loving Father who has a watchful eye on you.
We can also hold on with patient expectation, looking forward to the day when Christ returns. And really, what is this an expectation of? It’s an expectation of Heaven.
If you’re a Christian, you could be going about your business one day and suddenly find yourself in Heaven, reunited with loved ones, face to face with Jesus. The Bible says the rapture of the church will happen in “the twinkling of an eye” (see 1 Corinthians 15:52 NKJV).
That word twinkling originates from the Greek word atomos, which is the same word that atom comes from. It speaks of something that really can’t be measured. The time is so quick that you can’t quantify it. So it will happen in a moment, in a nanosecond.
Death is the great separator, but Jesus Christ is the great reconciler. In Heaven we will be reunited with friends and loved ones. Husbands will be reunited with wives, and wives will be reunited with husbands. Children will be reunited with parents, and parents will be reunited with children. It will be like a big family reunion.
We all come from dysfunctional families, but in Heaven, all the dysfunction will be gone. All the weirdness will be gone. All the drama will be gone. It will be a perfect reunion as we’re joined together around the throne of God.
So if we have the hope of the Lord’s return, the blessed hope, it should cause us to want to live godly lives. In recognition of the fact that God loves us and has so much waiting for us in Heaven, it should affect the choices we make, what we spend our time doing, and what we spend our money on. It should affect every aspect of our lives.
In other words, gratitude leads to godliness. The hopeful Christian seeks to be a holy Christian and purifies himself or herself from all known sin.
This is an indication, in many ways, of where you are spiritually. If you long for the return of Christ and look forward to it, then it says to me that your life is right with God.
Are there any things you’re doing presently that you would be ashamed to be doing if Christ were to return? Is there a relationship you’re engaged in right now that’s dragging you down spiritually? This is where purifying yourself comes in.
John wrote, “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2–3 NLT).
In so many of the parables Jesus told, He said we should be watching, waiting, and alert as we look for His return. He could come back at any moment. All around us, we see things happening in our world that tell us Jesus is coming again.
If you really believe that, then it should impact the way you live. And most of all, it should give you hope.
Learn more about Pastor Greg: Bio
Originally published at WND.com
Subscribe to the Greg Laurie Podcast here.
Did you pray with Pastor Greg?
To help you get started, we would love to send you a free Bible and other resources to help you grow in your faith.Get Resources
In thanks for your gift . . .
This month, receive The Jesus Storybook Bible Christmas Collection when you partner with Harvest.Support now