Heaven is real. And many of us would agree on that fact. We believe what the Bible says is true. We know that God has prepared us for so much more than we can fully see here in this world. And He has greater things still in store than we could ever even know. But how does the reality of heaven help us in the day to day of life’s struggles? How can it offer us real hope and strength right now?
Here’s truth for the days that often seem unkind and unfair: This world will pass away, it’s not all we have. As believers in Christ we can be assured that death, cancer, accidents, sickness, addiction, none of those things hold the final sting. For He conquered death on the cross, and because of His gift, we still have an eternity to look forward to. We may not understand everything about it, but we can be confident that because heaven is real, we can have hope for our future, and hope for our lives even now.
Why We Can Have Joy and Hope Because of Heaven:
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1. In the midst of life’s storms, we have the hope of eternal life.
One way that heaven offers us great hope and joy is that we can be assured, no matter what we may face now, it won’t last forever. This world is not all there is. We weren’t made to find lasting hope only in this present life. For ahead of us is the gift of heaven.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
As believers, we hold the hope of heaven as an anchor for our souls. The gift of Christ paved the way for eternal life. It is a sure, steadfast, immovable hope that helps us to remember that the struggles of this world will pass away, but heaven lasts forever. We don’t have to let the burdens and hardships of this life distract or discourage us. We have a choice every day to keep our eyes firmly fixed on what God has promised, both now in this life and ahead in heaven.
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2. We don’t have to live afraid.
Because of heaven, we don’t need to wrestle with fear and worry. Jesus reminds us in His Word not to let our hearts be troubled, but to believe and to know He goes ahead of us to prepare a place. Just before His journey to the cross, He comforted His disciples with these powerful words. And they still hold the power to bring comfort and peace to our troubled, fearful hearts today.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
Christ assures us He will come again, and that all believers will be there with Him someday. He promises that heaven is a real place, not just some imaginary big cloud in the sky. It’s a place for us to live and breathe; and have purpose and joy. It’s a place where fears will vanquish, and worries will be no more. It’s a beautiful place of peace, where our struggles and battles will finally end.
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3. The reality of heaven gives us fresh purpose and meaning today.
Because we believe that heaven is real, our lives have greater meaning and purpose right now. When we know Christ, we also know that life isn’t meaningless, because God has a reason and a purpose for each day. Every day is a gift from Him. Every moment we’re breathing air is another opportunity to love and serve Him.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
Life is short. The somber truth we often face is that none of us knows how long we have in this world. We’re not promised tomorrow. Many of us know the incredible pain of losing loved ones too soon in this life. The reality of heaven reminds us to live each day as if it were our last. It brings meaning to this verse and becomes the heart cry to our lives, “Lord teach us to number our days…” Heaven doesn’t diminish the importance of this life, but it makes us more aware of its incredible gift. It’s a clear reminder to us to stay alert and active in sharing light and love in a world that needs His hope. Time goes by fast, let’s use our days wisely, so that many more have a chance to hear God’s truth now and experience heaven someday.
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4. In a world where you may feel like you don’t always fit in, you have a place in heaven.
This life can often be really great at reminding us that we don’t always fit in. Maybe you’ve struggled to find your place. Maybe you wrestle with wondering if anyone really cares. You’re constantly feeling like the odd one out. In this social media driven, Hollywood-hype world, we can often give a lot of attention to those on the “most popular list,” while many around us are hurting or just needing a friend to listen. And we’ve become too busy to even notice. Heaven offers us the assurance that because of Christ and our belief in Him, we fit. We have a place, not only reserved for us there, but He reminds us that our “citizenship” is there. And that’s the citizenship that matters most.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
He promises us that heaven is a real place, and it’s big. Jesus assures us He will come again and that all believers will be there someday. And if our Maker has created us with such uniqueness and power, we can be confident that our heavenly dwelling place will be greater than we could ever have imagined. Because that’s just the way He is.
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5. It is a place of true joy and freedom, with no more death, suffering, or pain.
Perhaps this very promise brings us more hope than any other. Because in a world that knows great suffering, loss, and pain, we hold on to the assurance that heaven will be different. It’s hard to imagine even one day without some trouble or pain, because we’re so human, and caught up in the struggle. We can’t even begin to comprehend an eternity of no more pain and sorrow.
“…They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
No death. No mourning. No pain. God will be with us and He will wipe away our tears for the very last time. Heaven is a place of joy and goodness, freedom and life. If you have ever suffered great illness, disease, or held the hand of a loved one who was in such pain at the end of their life; if you have ever experienced great anguish of the soul, or have struggled through addictions, or walked a painful road through trauma or abuse; there is hope still ahead. Heaven is a place where truly, the old is gone, the new is come. The struggle and pain we carry here, will be lifted away. We will be healed. We will be set free in every way of the burdens that now weigh us down.
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6. Heaven is far greater than we could ever imagine.
It is amazing, and more than our minds can perceive. God’s word clearly reminds us that we just simply can’t comprehend all that’s still in store. It’s that good. It’s that incredible. And in a world that can often feel dark and full of struggles and worries, that thought can be hard to even begin to wrap our minds around.
“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
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"We have so much to still look forward to!"
For those who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord, we are promised an incredible future, an eternity, with Him. Just knowing that this life is not all there is can give us the perseverance to carry on through the toughest of times. We have so much to still look forward to! God’s powerful presence is greater than any darkness we may face on this earth. And in heaven, we can be confident of this: there is no darkness there. Our bodies will be transformed. God promises that we will be made new. The Bible reminds us that we will be given a new body that we’ll have for eternity, and it will most assuredly be the best ever and far greater than we have ever had here on earth. Free of sickness. Free of weakness. Free of pain. And if God is giving us a new body and eternal life, we can be sure that He has great purpose for us still in heaven.
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7. There’s only one way to heaven, it’s through the love and forgiveness of Christ’s death on the cross.
One thing is sure, heaven is real, and so is hell. Jesus spent more time talking about its reality than any other person in the Bible. He didn’t talk about it to scare us or to simply stir up strife. He told us of heaven and of hell too, so that we could make the best choice of where we want to spend eternity. And it comes down to that, it’s a choice. We can know for a fact that as much as people want to joke about hell as one big party, it will be no party. Just as heaven is a place of light and freedom, hell is a place of darkness, despair, and suffering. If you’re reading this now, and aren’t sure where you will spend eternity, take a few minutes to talk with God and get things straight. Don’t wait, we’re not promised tomorrow.
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
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"He understands the questions you have and the struggle to understand."
If you find yourself in a dark place right now, wondering about what else there is to this life, or maybe grieving the loss of a loved one who seems to be gone too soon, or too quickly, from this world – there’s hope and healing through Christ. It’s not just nice sounding, positive words. It’s real. It’s powerful. It’s life-changing.
God knows the ache you carry. He understands the questions you have and the struggle to understand. He wants to remind us that there’s glory still ahead. This life is short, though some days may feel long, and the battle seems fierce. But as we look to what He is preparing for us, as believers, may it give us every ounce of strength we need now, to press on and boldly share the truth and light of Christ in a dark world.
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"...Christ came to set us free."
Here’s truth that is powerful enough to draw the lost soul to Himself, to rescue the one who is stuck in a pit, to save the one who has lost his way: Christ came to set us free. He chose to die on the cross. He was willing to do that, for you and for me, so that we can be forgiven of the sin and wrong in our lives and receive the gift of eternal life. That’s true freedom. There’s no other way that we can be saved, but through Jesus. He was buried, and placed in a tomb, but He didn’t stay dead. He rose again and is now in heaven with God, He defeated death, and He’s given us His Spirit to help us in this life. The Bible says if we confess Him as Savior and Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. He offers us new life today. He offers us the gift and hope of heaven.
Pray to Him today, and know that He is with you always, and won’t ever let you go.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho
Originally published Tuesday, 25 September 2018.