How Heaven Can Make You Strong
God has promised us many great things. One of the greatest of these is heaven. Holding onto this promise is like placing your hands around sturdy climbing holds that have been embedded in a sheer rock wall. Knowing that heaven is part of your inevitable future will allow you to handle life’s challenges with more courage and confidence.
But many of us are so preoccupied with life here and now that we rarely even think about heaven. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, it is an enormous mistake to think only of the temporal future. Here’s how a senior devil in his book The Screwtape Letters advises a junior devil in demonic strategy: “We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now….”1 Rather than allowing us to invest in the present in a way that will prepare us for heaven, the devil wants us to expend our energy on an unrealistic future that will likely never exist.
But God wants us to live with the certainty that we are citizens of a kingdom that will endure forever. Listen to what Psalm 100 says: “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever” (5). Why would the psalmist say God’s love endure forever if there were no one to love forever? And why would Paul tell Titus that God promised eternal life “before the world began” unless he was saying that God’s promise is rooted in eternity itself?
Let’s stop thinking of heaven as some vague place up in the clouds and start thinking of it as a biblical reality toward which our lives are aimed. Let’s thank God, too, that we’ve been born again, not to a life that will quickly end but to one that will last forever.
Promises in Scripture
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:4-5
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand." John 10:27-29
I [Paul] have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. Titus 1:1-2
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 1 Peter 1:23
- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: HarperCollins, 1942), 78.