What do you believe? A little book given to me when James passed away has kept me company all afternoon. Finding an old, tattered newspaper article from Billy Graham tucked inside my book stirred the need to share this story. Someone reading surely needs to hear these promises from Heaven for every need we deal with through storms and sunshine on earth.
The introduction to ‘Believe This – Not That’ is worth sharing. It tells how our days are filled with emotions and thoughts – reactions to the things life throws at us. Living by our emotions is an up and down experience. We cannot deny our feelings; yet, we know we are not alone in tough times that come our way and should be strong through the storms. Our walk of faith can help us and others as we choose to believe what God says about us, not how we feel about ourselves, our situation, even our future.
Deuteronomy 30:19 reminds us, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now, I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
The title of Rev. Graham’s article states, “Heaven is a place of Joy” The question he was asked caught my attention. “Dear Rev. Graham: What will we look like in heaven? A friend of mine who’d had a very unhappy life although she was a very devout person always had a sad expression on her face. Will she still look sad in heaven?”
Answer: “The bible doesn’t answer all our questions about heaven – but no, your friend won’t look sad there. The reason is because all of the problems and heartaches she experienced here will behind her. In heaven, the bible says, we will be forever in Christ’s glorious presence without fault and with great joy. (Jude 1:24) Not only that but in heaven we will be free from all evil, and we will never again be touched by anything hurtful.
Think of it: Not only will we be free from evil but we won’t even fear it, because it simply won’t exist. Anxiety and insecurity will never touch us – which is one reason why heaven will be a place of great joy.
In the familiar words of Psalm 23. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” Psalm 23:4
Bu there is another reason why we will be supremely happy in heaven – and that is because we will be with Christ. Then we will realize just how much God loves us and how much it cost Christ to purchase our salvation. We will also rejoice in God’s goodness to us during our lives on this earth.
The real question however, is this: Do you know – really – know – that you will go to heaven when you die?
You can know, by committing your life to Christ and trusting him as your Lord and Savior. Open your heart to Christ without delay.”
Those words from Dr. Graham are meant to be shared in this story. Our communities are filled with loved ones who are grieving and dealing with the death of someone special in their lives. Young and old, suddenly or long sicknesses, people we know and those we know of have passed away and left voids in many hearts and homes. May the message in this story bring comfort to those adjusting to life here with a loved one who has gone to glory. Our duty to love is ongoing, though the ones we love are not here but waiting for a glorious reunion in heaven one day. We cannot get stuck in the past, nor be miserable in the present, but must have faith that the sun will come out and bring light and love to our world.
My little book gives great advice also. I opened to a page that forecast my feelings on this hot, quiet, summer, Sunday afternoon, “ Don’t Believe This – I miss my spouse and I’m so lonely. Believe This – Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” John 16:22
“…I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.”
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness…” Psalm 30:11
“A father of the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5
Ending this story about heaven and dealing with death on earth should give each person reading this who is facing death the assurance that heaven is real and we need to be ready to go in the twinkling of an eye. And every brokenhearted person reading and thinking about your beloved husband, wife, parent, child, friend, or whomever you love that is no longer in your life here…we will see them again when God calls us Home.
Don’t Believe This: I cannot take the pain, the loneliness, the problems. No one cares. I have no reason to live now that my loved ones are gone. I ‘m not good enough to go to heaven anyway. Jesus is punishing me for my wrongdoings. I don’t even believe anymore since all this bad stuff has happened to me. I am miserable and don’t fit in anywhere. Death would be better than life like this. I am depressed and dread my tomorrows. (This is what the enemy would like for us to believe about ourselved)
Believe This: I hurt deeply but God promises to heal my broken heart. When I am lonely, I can get up and go to church or The Soup Kitchen or Tim’s Gift or Enlightened Ministry, or Salemburg Food Bank, or other local ministries to volunteer and help people. My problems concern me but I tell Jesus all about my troubles and feel peace inside. I read and study my Bible. I know heaven is real and our loved ones are happy there. The road to heaven is narrow, so keeping my heart cleaned out and being ready is a must – not a maybe! Jesus loves me and cares for us as He does the sparrows. God’s grace covers and keeps us lifted up when sinking in sin is what the enemy would like us to do. He is a liar and has no power when we belong to Jesus. I look forward to the plans He has for the rest of my life. I don’t understand everything that happens and wonder what heaven will be like, but I believe stronger than ever that God is in control and will bring good from the bad according to HIs plans for our lives. I am thankful that His ways are higher and He knows what is best for us when we think things should be different. I know His Son suffered and died for us; I will love and cherish Him and the ones He sent to color my world with love for the rest of my days. I am blessed and looking forward to my tomorrows. (This is what God would like for us to think and do)!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.