When I have gone overseas on preaching tours, I have always been able to take my wife with me, with the exception of a seven-week period when I visit His conventions in India. This was the first occasion we had been separated for any length of time, and while I was in India, my wife was at home waiting for me. She told me later that as time went on, she literally counted the days to my return. Do we, who love the Lord, wait as expectantly as that? It is true that we do not know the day or the hour of His expected return, for the Lord Himself said: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42).
But we do know that He is coming back, because He said He would, and the uncertainty of the time should keep us on the tiptoe of expectancy every day.
“Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shall thou be when thou goes out.”
I would mention one more great encouragement:
(5) As we look ahead, we have the certainty of the Lord’s loving welcome.
Many Christians, of course, will die before the Lord comes back, in which case they will have to pass through the valley of death; but if we are upon the earth on His return, then we shall not die. If we are called upon to experience death, is there any encouragement in this thought? Yes, there is, for death to the Christian is an enemy which has been overcome. Paul was so confident about this that he actually said, “to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21); that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8); and that the moment the Lord calls us from this earthly life, our spirit will leave our body and at once we shall be with Him (Phil. 1:23).
In fact, the Bible tells us that it is a very precious thing to the Lord when one of His children dies: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15).
Perhaps you say, “I am a Christian, I am trusting in the Saviour, but I am so unworthy!” Of course, you are, but you will receive a wonderful welcome! The reason is because your welcome will not be dependent upon your worthiness, but upon the worthiness, the merit and the grace of your Saviour. So, the moment the Lord says to you, “Come up higher!” you will go to be with Him, away from all the cares and concerns of earth, to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps. 23:6).
We do not think nearly enough about Heaven and the wonderful provision which God has made for all His people for all eternity. When we were in Jamaica, the Christians in Brownstone were singing a chorus which consisted of five words only: “Heaven is better than this! Heaven is better than this! Heaven is better than this!” – And so it is. But the most wonderful thing about going to Heaven will be the welcome we shall receive from the Saviour Himself, when we get there and begin to “tell the story, saved by grace!”
What an encouragement this is! “Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.”
Surely, the Lord promises us blessings all along the line; blessings for every hour, for every minute, for every second and for every moment of all the days ahead, until we see Him face to face, and then we shall receive blessings for all eternity.