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"I do not pray that you should take them out of the world." John 17:15
It would be a great deal safer, in one sense, for believers to be taken at once to Heaven — as soon as they are saved. They would then have no temptations, no enemies to fight, no conflicts and struggles to pass through. But who would then do Christ's work in the world? There would be . . .
none to tell sinners about the Savior,
none to show to men the beauty of Christ in a holy life,
none to witness for God and to fight His battles.
There is another reason why Christians are left here. They are not the most majestic trees, which grow in the sheltered valleys, where no storms break — but those rather which are found upon the hill-tops and on the mountains, where they must encounter the fierce gales. It is just so with men: the noblest men are grown amid difficulties and hardships — and not in pampered ease. Even Jesus Himself was trained in the school of conflict and struggle. It may be the easiest thing to have no battles in life, to grow in some sheltered plain where the storms never blow, to meet no hardships, to have no burdens to carry; but what sort of life comes in the end — from such a smooth career? If we would reach the heights of blessedness — we must be content to pass through the fields of struggle.
When armies return from victorious war, the loudest cheers are not for those who have fought the fewest battles, nor for the flags which are cleanest — but for the regiments which are cut down to a few men, and for the colors that are shot to pieces. So it will be in Heaven, when the redeemed are welcomed home: those who have fought the most battles, and bear the most "marks of the Lord Jesus," will receive the highest honors. It is better, then, even for Christians themselves to stay in this world, and to grow to strength through duty and conflict.