As I was reading one of Janette Oke’s Christian fiction books, a thought of hers stirred my imagination. One of her characters, in discussing how to live this life, told another to live so that he could walk into Heaven with his head held high, having done all he could, while on this earth, to please the Lord.
I have known for quite some time that this life is a gift and a blessing from God and that we are to make the most of it. I have also known that I’m forgiven and will be a part of his wonderful heavenly kingdom, thanks to his son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The wonderful realization that I don’t have to enter into his kingdom with my head hanging and my shoulders slumped, so aware of all my faults and failures, is new to me. I should have known better, of course, and looking back, I can see God was planting a very wonderful homecoming scene into my heart.
I remember praying years ago with this mental image in my head: God at the top of a ledge and me trying desperately to reach out for his “hand up.” In my vision, God didn’t just give me a hand up, he grabbed hold and pulled me right to the top of that ledge beside him. I knew, without him, there was not a way for me to make it, but I didn’t fully realize how much he was willing to do to get me there.
Another time, another prayer, and another vision. I am standing outside a huge, ornate door, timidly knocking and waiting to be ushered inside by Jesus when he opened it to me. The door opened and the lesson was learned. Jesus had already made the way by dying for me on that cross. I could just “walk right on in as a welcomed guest” to the very throne of God!
Now, because of the words of a wonderful Christian author, I have a new image to excite me. Imagine this; we get to run excitedly right on into his perfect kingdom. Our bodies will not be tired, stressed, or dejected. Our carriage can be straight, strong and sure. Our welcome is not going to be a subdued, “I tried my best – thank you for accepting me,” but rather, “Wow! I can hardly believe it; finally, I’m home!” We will be absolutely overjoyed as we run into the presence of our Father! What a triumphant homecoming!
In the meantime, “Thank you, Lord, for this gift of life, of walking the earth and serving you the best way we can and asking forgiveness when we fail. Thank you, most of all, for always leading the way so that eventually, our eternal path leads us home to you!