READ : Acts 7
And Stephen gazed into heaven . . . (v. 55)
Nothing steels a Christian’s nerve more than the hope of heaven. As Stephen braced himself against his executioners he looked into heaven and saw the Lord. He would lose his life but gain heaven. When we confess in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in God . . . maker of heaven,” we are saying at least this much—that all we see is not all we get. I love quoting Philip Henry, the godly father of the trustworthy Bible expositor Matthew Henry: “All this and heaven too!”
A few years ago my wife’s father died at the age of 90. Having been separated from his family during World War II, stunned by the loss of a son in an automobile accident, reduced by a stroke, and then sadly left behind when his wife died suddenly, he knew suffering.
Sitting with him one afternoon my wife asked him what had been the best day of his life. Surely he would say his wedding day, or perhaps one of the birthdays of his children. His answer, though, was surprising. “Today,” he said swiftly and confidently, “Today is the best day of my life!” Why? “Because,” he responded, “today I am one day closer to being with the Lord.” Which is another way of saying, “All this and heaven too!”
Loving God, give us grace to look forward to heaven. Amen.