But suffering does more than make us want to go to heaven. It prepares us to meet God when we get there. Just think for a moment. Suppose you had never in your life known any physical pain. How could you at all appreciate the scarred hands with which Christ will greet you? What if no one had ever hurt you deeply? How could you adequately express your gratefulness when you approach the throne of the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3)? If you had never been embarrassed, if you had never felt ashamed, you could never begin to know just how much He loved you when He took your shameful sins and made them His.
Don’t you see? When we meet Him face-to-face, our suffering will have given us at least a tiny taste of what He went through to purchase our redemption. We will appreciate Him so much more. And our loyalty in those sufferings will give us something to offer Him in return. For what proof could we bring of our love and faithfulness if this life had left us totally unscarred? What shame would we feel if our Christianity had cost us nothing? Suffering prepares us to meet God.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5
The thing that will make heaven heavenly will be the change God will make inside us. Can you imagine what it will be like to never again have the desire to sin? To never again feel guilty? Or depressed? Or upset? We will know the wonderful harmony of not only being in paradise, but also of having hearts that are able to enjoy it.
To be continued ~ from Joni and Friends