As the toil-worn laborer hails the hour of rest with gladness; as the wave-tossed mariner sees the haven of safety with thankfulness; as the weary exile approaches his native country with feelings of rapture – so does the believer rejoice in the prospect of eternal glory! He loves to think of that moment when he shall be absent from the body, and present with the Lord – when the cares, the conflicts, and the corruptions which surround him here, will be exchanged for the peace and purity which pervade the everlasting abode of the redeemed. Deliverance from trouble, freedom from sin, increase of knowledge, separation from the ungodly, fellowship with the holy, communion with his Savior – these and other delineations of the heavenly state make him ready, willing, eager to depart from the present life, and to enter upon that new and noble existence!
Many sons and daughters of affliction have so much to do and to suffer, they see so much misery and discord around them, their spiritual foes are so powerful and persevering – that the sigh of the psalmist is often heard from their lips: "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Psa. 55:6). Rest! Where? In heaven! There the weary are at REST.
They rest from toil. They rest from pain. They rest from sorrow. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying" (Rev. 21:4). Yes; God Himself shall wipe away their tears! The days of their mourning will be forever ended, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Need, disappointment, care, unkindness, injustice, bereavement, and every other source of earthly distress – are unknown in heaven.
They rest from spiritual conflict. Life is a period of warfare and trial. The foes of the Christian are many and they are mighty: the flesh – his own unsubdued passions; the world – with its temptations on the one hand and its reproaches on the other; and the great adversary of mankind going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
All these foes are continually arrayed against him; and he must be always upon his guard, always ready for the encounter. His prayer is that when his Lord comes He may find him watching. This is a right spirit. We ought not to grow weary in well-doing. We ought not to wish for our crown before our conflict is ended. But at the same time, we may look forward to our rest with hope and gladness. In the midst of our conflict with evil – we may soothe and refresh our spirits with the thought of final victory. As we press forward in our heavenward journey, encompassed by difficulties and beset with dangers, we may rejoice in the consideration that,
"We nightly fix our moving tent
A day’s march nearer home!"
Yes, our warfare will soon be over – our rest attained.
Forever with the Saints and Savior
Shall we not also remember those loved ones who were once with us here, and rejoice in the thought that we shall before long, share in their holy occupations and participate in their fadeless joys? The communion of saints on earth is sweet – but what will it be in heaven? Here there is much to mar and interrupt it; there it will be perfect and perpetual. We shall dwell together as the children of one Father, as the brethren of one family, as the loved and loving inhabitants of one eternal home!
But dearer, far dearer, than the thought of this complete and tender sympathy with all the redeemed in glory – is the prospect of that perfect and constant communion with our Savior which His promises now unfold to our view. "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me" (John 17:24). Well might one of Christ’s tried and honored servants as she waited for her summons to pass over the river, write: "To be where You are, to see You as You are, and to be made like unto You – the last sinful motion forever past; no more opposition; no more weariness, listlessness, dryness, or deadness – but conformed to my blessed Savior, every way capacitated to serve Him, to enjoy Him – this is heaven!"
Yes, to be with Christ, to see Him as He is – that indeed is heaven. In our converse with Him now by faith, we rejoice with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory; what, then, will be our emotions when that glory is realized and His presence is attained!
Weary and sorrowful pilgrim, the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed! Let the radiance of coming joys illumine the clouds of present grief; let the melody of heaven-breathed songs soothe the agitation of your troubled spirit. Oh, your "light affliction…is but for a moment," and it "worketh for [you] a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while [you] look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
"We have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay" (1 Pet. 1:4).
Listen to the words of your ascended and glorified Savior: "Surely I come quickly!" What is your earnest and heartfelt response? "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
– Anonymous (Condensed)
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon