One of my favorite motivational speakers is Les Brown. From all his words of wisdom and encouragement, one of my favorite sayings is, “It’s not over until I win.” This is a powerful set of words to encourage entrepreneurs, athletes, and pursuers of success in general. I am taking the liberty to change the saying to fit the context of the Christian journey. “It’s not over until we get to heaven.”
The phrase “it’s not over”, biblically speaking, refers to the daily challenges, opportunities, struggles, blessings, joy, etc. we face in everyday life. Life is not over. Every day we are given a set of circumstances with which we must deal. How we deal with these events depends on which attitudes we choose to have.
The day a person is born anew—“raised to walk in newest to life”—the journey from earth to heaven starts. While the journey is filled with joy and blessings it is not without trials. Job nailed it when he said, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue” (Job 14:1). James asked this question, “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little time and ten vanishes away” (James 4:14).
King Solomon reminded us that on the journey of life there are numerous seasons and times which make up the mosaic of one’s life. For example, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). Every day we face a “new time” of challenges.
I once heard a man say that he wished he had died when he came up out of the baptistery. Why? Because of all the troubles and challenges that had been in his life since that day—with his children, finances, personal health, marital problems, struggling with spiritual issues, etc. Job’s wish was that he had died in his mother’s womb or during his birth (cf. Job 3:10-16).
I’m not sure where the idea originated that once one became a Christian he or she would have a carefree life. Jesus made it known right up front that to follow Him would require a denial of self and carrying a cross (Matthew 16:24); two unpopular behaviors back then as well as now. Paul sours “the pie in the sky” attitude toward the Christian journey with these words: “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and ALL who desire to live godly in Christ will SUFFER PERSECUTION” (2 Timothy 3:10-12). This is a promise!
From his state of banishment on the island called Patmos, the apostle John gave us comforting truth about the end of the journey and what happens at the end: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. BE FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). The crowning ceremony will take place in heaven—in the Throne Room of our Father. The journey is not over until we get to heaven.
When we all Get to Heaven
I love the words to the following two hymns about heaven:
EARTH HOLDS NO TREASURES
Earth holds no treasures but perishes with using
However precious they be;
Yet there’s a country to which I am going
Heaven holds all for me.
Heaven holds all for me
Brighter it glory will be;
Joy without measure
Will be my treasure
Heaven holds all for me.
(Tillit S. Teddlie).
WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed;
He’ll prepare for us a place.
When we all get to heaven
What a day that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory.
(Mrs. J.G. Wilson).
HEAVEN: Final Cure for Troubled Souls
When Jesus made His advent into the first century world, it was filled with crime, immorality, religious divisions, political corruption, hatred, discouragement and you name it. In the midst of a rebellious people who sought to discredit and even kill Him, Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me; in my Father’s house are many mansions; if this wasn’t true I would have told you, I go prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-3). Jesus is the only way to heaven (cf. John 14:6).
To enhance His emphasis on heaven, Jesus continually taught about the “kingdom of heaven” and how it related to faithful followers. Matthew records Jesus referring to the “kingdom of heaven” 32 times. For example:
- Jesus said the “kingdom of heaven” is at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7).
- The blessings of the “kingdom of heaven” are promised to the righteous (Matthew 5:3; 4:17).
- The Gentiles will be in the “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).
Jesus promised heaven, after it’s all over down here, for the faithful. Therefore, struggles will not be over until we “win the crown of life.”
No, it’s not over until we get to heaven. But when we get to heaven, praise God, so many things we’ve had to endure on our journey will be over. Writing to first century Christians who were experiencing terrible persecution, even death, the apostle John wrote the following words to help the persecuted see the blessings when IT IS OVER on earth. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’” (Revelation 21:14, 15). Wow! “Heaven holds all for me” and you too.
The apostle Peter in writing to scattered Christians who were experiencing “fiery trials” (1 Peter 4:12), presented a beautiful picture of their dwelling place after it was all over—HEAVEN. He wrote in 1 Peter 1:2-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to and inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. IN THIS you greatly rejoice, thought now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3-7). Our “mansion” is ready!
YES! As the hymn says, “Heaven holds all for me.” I have secured my reservation, my bag is packed, and I am waiting for my name to be called.
How about you? Have you intentionally obeyed the Gospel and are ready to go, knowing it’s not over until we get to heaven? Can you sing “Oh happy day when Jesus washed my sins away”? THE BEST IS YET TO BE!! It really is.