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Monday, October 26, 2020

The Other Side

By David A. Sargent

     Cecil May, Jr. recently wrote about a conversation that his son, Cecil III, had with his mother when he was a child:
“Cecil 3, now a preacher with his own grandchildren, when he was still pre-school, before seatbelts and car seats, he was lying in the back of the car, looking up through the back windshield at the sky, blue with cumulus clouds.  He asked his mom who was driving, ‘When I die, will I go to heaven?’
     She answered, ‘Well, Cecil, I certainly expect you to.’
     Cecil said, ‘The underside of heaven is so pretty; the other side, where God is, must be really beautiful.  I think I will lie down in the street in the front of our house so I can get run over and go to heaven!’
     His mother watched him especially closely for several weeks after that conversation.”
*
     Unbelievers scoff at the doctrine of heaven saying it is a vain hope for some “pie in the sky.”  Dictionary.com says that the idiomatic phrase, “pie in the sky,” refers to “an empty wish or promise, as in His dream of being hired as a sports editor proved to be pie in the sky.  This expression was first recorded in 1911 in a rallying song of a union, the International Workers of the World (or “Wobblies”): ‘Work and pray, live on hay, you'll get pie in the sky when you die.’”
     But believers do not view heaven as some wishful “pie in the sky” but as something to actually look forward to “in the sweet by and by” (in the words of the hymn by Sanford Fillmore Bennett).
     Upon what basis is the hope for heaven founded?  God promised it.  There are many evidences that the Word of God, the Bible, is divine in origin.  Considering those evidences, many have come to accept that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  Believers conclude: the Bible is from God and it can be trusted.  God can be trusted.
     God’s Son said to His troubled disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  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 14:1-3).
     God promised heaven to those who will accept His offer of salvation and eternal life.  And our hearts yearn for heaven.  We look at the trials of this life and say, “There must be something better than this.”  God says, “There is.  It is a place where I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.  There shall be no death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Revelation 21:4).  That, my friends, gives us hope for tomorrow and strength for today.
     God gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that, one day, we can go to heaven (John 3:16).
     God will save from sin and give eternal life in heaven to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin and make ready for heaven those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
     No, don’t lie in the middle of the street so you can get run over to try to get there more quickly.  But do consider “how beautiful heaven must be” and the price that God paid to make it possible for us.  Live your life in view of heaven, by trusting and obeying Jesus.
     God says there is something for which to look forward.  I believe God.  Won’t you?
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* from “Beautiful Heaven” by Cecil May, Jr. in Preacher Talk (Vol. 36, No. 1; Winter, 2020), a publication produced by Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL


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