Proverbs 13:12 states, “Hope deferred makes the heart grow weary but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Ever wonder why when you watch the news on TV or read bad news how the things you hear and read make you feel sick to your stomach almost instantly? And when something great happens or you see a new baby born or a happy couple gets married your heart feels real good! Proverbs 13:12 says that’s what to expect.
In 1974, I had a wonderful experience on a church retreat. I experienced a vision of Heaven and how wonderful everything is going to be forever and ever with the Lord. I saw a sky that was as blue as a sky can get. The foliage was a bright green, like in early June when all the trees and bushes here in Alaska bud their first leaves.
And then I saw in the vision something very horrible. I saw a war zone it appeared. There was mass confusion every where. People were crying out to the Lord to save them. There was destruction all around and what seemed like thousands of people dead or dying on the streets. It was a terrible time. Then I heard a voice say to me, “These things must happen, but the time will be short and then the end will come.”
I took that vision to heart and pondered it for some time. Then I went to my pastor and shared this vision. He gave me a book and told me to read it. It was a book written back in the 1700s about the end times. Shortly after reading the book from cover to cover, it didn’t take long to realize that much has been written in the bible about the end times.
That started my life long study on Christian Eschatology, the study of the end times. The more I studied the more interested I became in the subject. At first it was scary, but as I read more in the bible, I began to realize that for Christians it is a wonderful time for what happens next, Heaven.
You may have noticed in other articles I have written how excited I am about Heaven. I think anyone who really wants to know Jesus, Heaven is very important because that is where we will spend eternity with Jesus, our Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit and all the Saints. All the folks since the beginning of time, who have had faith in Jesus Christ the Messiah, will be there. In fact, much was said from Jesus about Heaven and the last and final days. The Book of Matthew, chapter 24 is a good place to start.
I found that Isaiah has a lot to say about the last days in the Old Testament as well as Ezekiel, Daniel and the Psalms. They also talk about Heaven as the final reward. There is much in the Old Testament about being with the Lord forever. With that said, the last book in the bible, Revelation is probably my favorite. It’s also a very difficult book to read so a lot of study needs to take place to understand it more fully. I don’t know if one can fully understand what the Apostle John saw in his vision of the end, but, with the help of the Holy Spirit and many Godly, Holy people who have studied the Apocrypha, one can get a better understanding of what John saw in his vision of the final days before Jesus return.
I have also found hope in reading these books that gives me joyous expectations for the future. I’ve said it before, “One really can’t live a life of Joy here on earth until they experience the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent who gives us the eternal life awaiting us at the end of his Glorious planned Journey for us.” Yes, our lives do not belong to us after we give our lives to Jesus. Our life belongs to God, for his purpose here on earth. Our life is no longer ours do as we will, but our life belongs to God to do His will. That’s what being born again is all about. Just as Paul said, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ living in me.” We experience the same transformation. Romans 12 explains that wonderfully.
Of course it is devastating when we loose a loved one, especially in something unexpected like a car accident, a fire, a drowning or sudden death to a heart attack. It’s sad when you hear of people being killed by a tornado, a hurricane or Tsunami or other natural disaster. Somehow, these events have occurred for many years where people die unexpectedly. Wars take people, plagues take people, drought and hunger take people. How can God use these things to draw people to Himself? I asked that question when I was a youth. I am beginning to see more clearly now what it is like looking through a darkened glass, mirror if you will.
Our Heaven Father loves us so much. He is jealous over our souls. He wants us to be with Him forever and ever along with all the Saints. He has great expectations for us. There is hope for us. In Christ Jesus we have everything Paul tells us in Ephesians 3. I am amazed at how much the bible tells us how much God loves us and wants us with Him in Heaven. But we need to repent of our sins and turn to Jesus and ask Him to be Lord of our messed up lives. We need to confess our sins to Him and thank Him for loving us so much for dying on the cross for us as a sacrifice for our sins. Then, as we repent, we experience a sorrow that comes from the heart of God, and we feel something change in us, deep in our hearts. The presence of God becomes real and we are born again. Then and only then we begin to understand the things of God and find comfort from God in reading His Word. Just as one feeds their body tangible food, reading the Word of God feeds our Spirit that is the core of our being deep down in our body.
All one needs to do is come before the Lord by themselves and ask Jesus to come into their lives and He comes. Just that simple. We confess Jesus as Lord of our lives and He is. There is really nothing more except to find other believers to share your great joy with in a church or fellowship somewhere the Lord will direct your steps.
This Memorial Day, take some time to ponder where you are in your life with or without God. Do you need Christ in your life? Do you need more of Christ in your life? I do.
Mark Conway is an evangelist living with his wife Maryna in Sterling. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.