The Hope of Heaven
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I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.—Jesus, John 11:25–261
When you suffer unjustly, hold on to your faith, lest the sadness of the world settle on your heart. The assurance of a better world to come will see you through even the darkest days.
Keep your eyes on your eternal home in heaven—that wonderful place where you will be reunited with those you love and where all will be love, light, joy, and happiness. You will know then that it was worth it all, for on that day the pain will be erased.
If it’s hard for you to have that kind of faith, ask Me to help you see things as I do. Ask Me to show you what I have in store for you and your loved ones in heaven, and I will. I do this so that you may be encouraged and find the strength to bear the troubles of the present. I am not able to reveal all that I have prepared for you, but I can reveal some of it to you now.2 Keep your eyes on heaven, and the troubles of this present world will seem small by comparison—and they are.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
The movie Amistad tells the story of a group of African slaves who seize control of their slave ship and demand to be returned to their homeland. The captain instead takes them to an American seaport where they are imprisoned.
As they await the judge’s verdict one of the men, Yamba, sits in a corner of the prison cell thumbing through the pages of a Bible.
Cinque, the leader of the group, looks over and says, “You don’t have to pretend to be interested in that. Nobody’s watching but me.”
After a brief moment Yamba looks up. “I’m not pretending. I’m beginning to understand it,” he says. He cannot read the writing—English is foreign to him—but he can make sense of the pictures.
When Cinque comes over to see for himself Yamba explains the story in their native language. “Their people have suffered more than ours,” he says. Showing Cinque a picture of Jews being attacked by lions, he continues, “Their lives were full of suffering.”
Then Yamba flips the page and points to a picture of the baby Jesus, crowned with a halo of light, “Then he was born and everything changed.”
Cinque asks, “Who is he?”
Yamba replies that he doesn’t know, but that the child must be special. He moves through the pictures of Jesus. He points to a picture of Jesus riding on a donkey, praised by onlookers. A golden orb forms a halo around Jesus. “Everywhere he goes,” says Yamba, “he is followed by the sun.”
Picture after picture, the same theme emerges. Light surrounds Jesus as he heals people with his hands, as he protects an outcast woman, as he embraces children.
But this is not the end of the story. “Something happened,” says Yamba. “He was captured, accused of some crime.”
Cinque shakes his head back and forth and insists, “He must have done something.”
Yamba says, “Why? What did we do? … Do you want to see how they killed him?”
Yamba is now getting very emotional. Cinque reminds him, “This is just a story, Yamba.”
Yamba shakes his head in protest. This man’s death was real. “But look,” he says, “that’s not the end of it. His people took his body down from…” Yamba pauses and draws a cross in the air.
“They took him into a cave. They wrapped him in cloth, like we do. They thought he was dead, but he appeared before his people again … and he spoke to them. Then, finally, he rose into the sky.”
“This is where the soul goes when you die here. This is where we’re going when they kill us.” Stroking a picture that depicts heaven, Yamba concludes, “It doesn’t look so bad.”—From storiesforpreaching.com3 (Note: If you wish to watch this portion of the movie, check this YouTube clip.)
As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.—1 Corinthians 2:9–104
The same God who loves us enough to create us, this life, the universe, and heaven has made it very easy for each of us to be assured of a place there. It is best summed up in a very simple, but very important verse from the Bible: “For God so loved the world [each of us], that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”5
God loves each of us in a very special way. He knows that the only way we’re going to be truly happy and personally fulfilled is to live with Him forever. To make this possible, He sent His Son, Jesus, to show us how to live and love, and to die for us. Jesus is the bridge between this life and heaven.
And don’t ever think that you are too “bad” to go to heaven. God knows everything you have ever done or said or even thought, and He still loves you unconditionally. Heaven is full of sinners—that is, people who have done bad things, but asked God for His forgiveness. All He wants you to do is to tell Him you’re sorry and invite Him into your life.
You can know for sure that you’re going to heaven. If you wish, you can sincerely pray this simple prayer: “Jesus, I want to know You and to live forever in heaven. I know I’ve made mistakes and done bad things—and I’m sorry. I know I don’t deserve it, but I accept Your love and ask that I can be with You in heaven. Please come into my life and help me, and give me peace.”
God has promised to answer your prayer, so you now have a home in heaven! God bless you with a wonderful, fulfilling eternity! See you there!—Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg
Published on Anchor April 2016. Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Dooley.
2 1 Corinthians 2:9–10.
5 John 3:16 NKJV.