Saturday morning. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful warm (hot) day in North Carolina. This day was special. It was my husband’s birthday. He got up in a particularly good mood. When I wished him a happy birthday he replied, “Well I made it another year, and I’m one year closer to heaven.” I wasn’t sure if he was rejoicing or looking for sympathy, so I said nothing.
A few minutes later I overheard his conversation in the kitchen with some of our family in which he repeated the same statement. So later when we were sitting on our porch I said, “So twice you have said ‘I’m one year closer to heaven’ you can stop that now.”
The next day in church the following quote was used during a sermon on 2 Timothy 4:6-8.[i]
“Do you see Jesus? There He is. You are getting closer. Keep running. Keep fighting. Keep guarding. Soon you will see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Then you will see His scarred hands and look into His majestic eyes. His lips will move, and He will say, ‘Well done.’ He will place a crown on your head. On that day you will not regret fighting, running, and enduring for His name’s sake.” – Tony Merida[ii]
The Lord wanted ME to see John’s birthday morning declarations in a new light. Rather than sympathy-seeking, it is cause to rejoice not just for him but for ALL OF US whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:3-4
Are we eager to be with Jesus? Do we live in anticipation? As we count the years tick by are we also rejoicing that we are one year closer to home?
[i] Message given by Joe Lechner at CrossWay Community Church
[ii] Tony Merida. Christ-Centered Exposition New Testament Commentary: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, pg. 216.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “God is always true; why do we not believe Him? He is always faithful to His Word; why can we not trust him? When we are in a right state of heart, faith costs no effort: it is then as natural for us to rely upon God as for a child to trust its father.” – C.H. Spurgeon