Face to Face

  • June 1, 2017
  • #9154

Suffering and trials on earth trains the heart to long for heaven, where we will see Jesus face-to-face.

Face to Face

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and you are listening to Joni and Friends today. I’ve got a beautiful Gospel song to sing about heaven. Maybe you know it:

Face to face with Christ my savior, face-to-face what will it be.
When with rapture I behold him, Jesus Christ who died for me.
Face-to-face I shall behold him, far beyond the starry sky.
Face-to-face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by.

Can you see why I love this hymn so much? I simply cannot wait until that wonderful day when I’ll be face-to face with Jesus. The second verse of this hymn goes like this:

What rejoicing in His presence, when are banished grief and pain.
When the crooked ways are straightened, and the dark things shall be plain.

Wow, what a glorious day it is going to be! Heaven is coming, friend, and something so grand, so great, so wonderful is going to happen in the world’s finale that it’s going to suffice for every one of your tears. It will atone for every one of your disappointments. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk about heaven because physical suffering and pain are so much a part of my daily routine here on Earth. That’s why I look forward to the time when my body, (oh my goodness) it’s going to be exchanged for that new, glorified version. Hallelujah! Because suffering is God’s way of helping us get our minds on the hereafter. And I don’t mean the “hereafter” as a psychological crutch or an escape from the way things are down here on earth—so hard, so difficult. God wishes to instill within each of us a strong desire for heaven, a desire for the imperishable, for the incorruptible, for the inheritance, as it says, “that never perishes, spoils, or fades.” And in order to grip our hearts for that kind of heavenly joy, God will sometimes takes drastic measures. You and I don’t appreciate His method at first, but later we’re always grateful for it. The Scottish theologian, Samuel Rutherford, described God’s dealings this way. He said:

 “If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that He should begin by crippling me in arm and limb and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purpose. And yet, how is God’s wisdom manifest even in this! For if you should see a man shut up in a closed dark room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light, and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps, and then throw open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.”

Friend, soon we will see Jesus face-to-face. And I want you to pray with me today, “Lord of Heaven, please blow out all the lamps in my life that light up the here and now. Help me to see suffering as your path to heaven. Help me to remember that our pain and problems are preparing us to meet You. You who will bear the scars of your suffering for all of eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

*Music: "Face to Face" by Carrie Ellis Breck, Public Domain

© Joni and Friends

Previously aired on 5/23/12 #7843

 

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