By Drew Kuehl
I think we all have a different picture in our minds of what heaven is going to be like. There are a few passages in the Bible that give us some idea of what it’s like, but a lot is still left to our imagination. A couple years ago, when my daughter Kara was 2 or 3, my wife, Amy, was putting her to bed one night and noticed she was deep in thought. She asked her what she was thinking about and Kara said “Mommy, I don’t think I want to go to heaven.” Amy was a bit surprised and so she asked, “why wouldn’t you want to go to heaven?” Kara looked up at her with concern on her face and said “because Mommy, what if I slipped on a cloud and fell right back to earth?”
You see, in her mind, heaven was a sort of place where you get to jump around on clouds above the earth and look down on what everyone’s doing. Though what Kara had imagined might not be the case, we do know that it is a place of unrestrained joy and freedom from our earthly bonds. When I think about it, I find myself torn inside. I would love to be there and see and experience it, but I also want to be here with my family that I love. So I always come to the conclusion that I find myself coming on many other issues as well: I have to trust in God’s perfect plan and timing.
This week as we continued our study of Philippians, we tackled verse 19 to 26 of chapter 1. We looked at verse 19 and saw how Paul used the power of prayer and relied on the provision of the Holy Spirit. We then saw in verses 20-21 that Paul was ultimately confident about his deliverance because he had given Christ first place in his life. We talked about how verse 21 is really Paul’s purpose statement and should be ours as well. I think it’s important for us to think about how we would honestly complete this sentence? For to me, to live is ______? What gets you up in the morning? What gets you excited? When you say, “That’s what life is all about,” what are you referring to? Here’s the issue. No one can leave that sentence blank. Everyone is living for something. What are you living for right now?
For Paul to live was Christ and to die was gain. The word “gain” that Paul uses refers to “profit” or interest on money. As Christians, we come out ahead when we’re dead. Actually, we’re not really dead when we die. We leave this world to spend eternity in another world. What do we gain? We gain a better body, a better home, a better inheritance and better fellowship. Live or die as Christians, it’s a win win situation. We finished by looking at verses 22-26 and we saw that we need to be prepared to die but plan to really live.
I’ve had many family members die in just the last few years: 3 Grandparents, an Aunt and my cousin and best friend. I know the truth that the longer I live, the more people I’ll see die. I rejoice in knowing that each knew Jesus and is present with their Savior. When I think about my life I’m torn as Paul was, but as he ultimately did I can say to live is Christ. That means to live is to share the gospel and teach the word of God to anyone God puts in my path. But to die is to come face to face with the God who created me and His Son who saved me. I can’t think of anything better.