Picture with me on that day, standing in the most spectacular surroundings you have ever seen! You will have landed there in an instant. You had no time to plan back home to leave. No time to say goodbye to anyone. There was no chance to get your house in order. Boom! In one second, you were breathing earthly air and in the next second, you were breathing heavenly air!
As you gaze in wonder in every direction you see sparkling pure polished gold. From the streets to the buildings, everything glitters with an indescribable sparkling luminescence. The light around you is brilliant yet not blinding. It is as if someone diffused tiny gold flakes, too small to distinguish yet large enough to recognize what they are made of.
Totally awestruck, knowing exactly where you are, your ten thousand thoughts are overcome by just two. Your first thought is “Will I see my loved ones in this spectacular place?” Then the second is “When will I see Jesus, now that I am here?”
All of a sudden, you realize that the first thought has been acknowledged by God as a prayer. All your loved ones who went on before you suddenly appear to greet you with bright heavenly smiles. The greatest joy of a million joys will settle into your heart and mind as you realize that you can now enjoy eternity with the ones you have loved and lost here on earth, never ever to be separated again for all of eternity, years without end.
As your newly transformed heavenly mind is reveling in the glorious complexity of the multiple experiences you have just enjoyed, the gentle and patient voice of your wonderful Savior softly speaks your name. He seems to emerge out of the golden aura of His marvelous light. As you view the rays of light penetrating through the holes in His crucified hands, He says to your yearning heart “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”
As though the west was meeting east or north was meeting south, overwhelming appreciation suddenly floods your mind for the wonderful grace of God, shed forth by the eternal, indescribable love of the Father! He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, His most precious possession, to come to our world, blossoms within your understanding. Then a polar pivot suddenly meets the incredible revelation of what it meant for Jesus, the Son of God, to leave His place of Heavenly authority and take the form of a man, endure thirty-three plus years of being rejected, and be crucified for the sins of the world, so that all who believe be saved and live forever in this place that you now find yourself.
At that point, your memory takes you back to a crucial turning point in your life when on one Sunday morning your pastor preached a profound and confrontational message entitled “One day in eternity you will either wish you had, or you will be glad you did!” You went forward that day and gave your life fully to Jesus. Deep in your heart you meant every single word as you prayed in sincere repentance and joyful acceptance of His wonderfully delivering love, a love that set you on a life course of cheerfully serving Him with all your heart in appreciation of His forgiveness.
Your mind races through the many years of difficult choices which forced you to pray for more strength as you gave sacrificially of your time and talents and finances to help build the Kingdom of God in a fallen world. From the time your children were small you endeavored to make sure they were in church with you. You sought the will of God in prayer in order to know His heart, always desiring to do His will with His strength.
In pondering these wonderful memories, you say in your heart “Thank you pastor for being faithful to deliver the messages that God gave you every Sunday morning.” Truly I do not have to stand somewhere today and ‘wish that I had”. Instead, I stand here in Heaven, eternally grateful that I did!