How to Survive by Hoping in Heaven
Julie BarrierDr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, have taught conferences on marriage and ministry in 35 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of Preach It, Teach It www.preachitteachit.org, providing free resources in 10 languages to 3 million visitors in 223 countries. The Barriers pastored 35 years at Casas Church in Arizona, Julie has served as a worship minister, concert artist and adjunct professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. She has authored or composed of over 250 published works.
- 2014 Jul 30
Look in the mirror. You could be younger, thinner or smarter. Look in your medicine cabinet. Do you need uppers to make it through the day or tranquilizers to surf the nightly news?
Our world is always one push-button away from annihilation. If stocks plunge, nest eggs disappear. Antibiotic-resistant diseases loom ahead. Don’t even get me started discussing global warming, moral depravity or the disintegration of the family unit. Depressing and worrysome.
Negro slaves, brutally beaten, living in poverty, had no hope. Yet they had one coping mechanism. They focused on heaven. Life on earth was hell. But heaven….yes, heaven would be different! “Deep River, my home is over Jordan,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot-coming for to carry me home!” Negro spirituals expressed hope in a life beyond death. We can learn from them.
How can you become heavenly-minded and hopeful?
- Remember that eternal life starts now. Jesus said in John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only eternal God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Jesus’ presence will fill you full of joy and pleasure (Psalm 16:11). Quiet your heart, mute your cell phone and let His love wash over you today.
- Jesus will be glad to see you. Matthew 25:23 expresses God’s absolute delight in your celestial arrival. He says “Well done, good and faithful servant….Come share your Master’s happiness.” Have you spent your life trying to please God and others? You will find forgiveness, grace and rest in heaven. (Psalm 103:12, Hebrews 4:10). Picture God smiling at you, welcoming you with open arms instead of shaking His finger at you in reproof.
- Bored? You will have fulfilling work to do. The cream cheese commercial featuring “haloed” angels lying on cloud pillows and strumming harps is a myth. Revelation 7 and 22 states that we will not work riddled with fatigue and frustration (the result of the Fall), but will fulfill all of the potential God placed within you with unlimited resources and energy.
- Those you love and miss are watching. Hebrews 12:1 describes the crowd of witnesses cheering us on in our earthly struggles. Revelation 6:9 and Luke 16:19-30 give us an indication that our dear ones do see us but through an eternal lens. What joy to reunite with them! If “a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years,” then your husband may die and you follow him ten years later. That’s about fifteen minutes in “heaven” time. He sees you and quips, “Hi, Honey! Late as usual…”
- The worship will be awesome!!! Revelation 4:1-11 depicts the glorious scene of unceasing worship before God’s Throne. All are singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” I don’t care how much or little you enjoy worship now, sing, shout, thank and praise God during your day. God’s presence hangs around when you praise. (Read about the Ark of God and His smoky glory). That should get you going!
Hoping in heaven gives you a different perspective on life. I envision my understanding of the here and now as the underside of an embroidered pillowcase. All I see are knots and dangling threads. The heaven side reveals a beautifully crafted masterpiece.
Thinking about heaven makes me happy. Besides, I am going to chow down at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and not gain an ounce!