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Many Christians (myself included) have wondered how a non-Christian navigates life amidst the ups, downs, heartaches, and disappointments of the human condition. The word insurmountable comes to mind. So do the words loneliness and pointless. Yet many seem to manage, or do they?
Life can smack hard across the face at times. Imagine not having Jesus when it does.
In one of C.S. Lewis’s more imaginative books, “The Great Divorce,” a series of conversations take place between departed souls regarding Heaven and Hell. Most are tragic exchanges with those still refusing to give up their reasons, excuses, and self-deception and henceforth, why they are in Hell in the first place.
In one notable exchange, it is explained that the saved will look back upon their earthly past as if they have been in Heaven all along. And the damned will look back upon theirs as if they were always in Hell. Expounding further, “And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here [Heaven] and the twilight turns to blackness down there [Hell], the Blessed will say ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,’ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.”
There is a taste of “heaven on earth” for the believer. Consider what we already enjoy. God elected us unto salvation. He knows us by name. We are forgiven. He lives inside us. We are becoming more like Him. We get to corporately worship Him one day in seven. There is back and forth communication from His Word to us and our prayers to Him. We have brothers and sisters in Christ. We live in the knowledge He is Sovereign and working all things out. We live knowing one day we will see Him face-to-face and we will reign with Him forever. This is “heaven on earth.”
Sadly, there is a taste of “hell on earth” for the non-believer. What is mentioned above is foreign to those outside of saving faith. The greatest joy they ever experience is whatever is squeezed from this life, and that will lose its taste as it fades and finally vanishes into eternity.
As Christians, we have it so good already and it is only going to get better—and exponentially so. Whereas the non-believer trudges through life, trying to make sense of it all. Some are better at it then others but their end is the same.
I am reminded of Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents.” The faithful servant entrusted with five talents and makes five talents more is given the additional talent stripped from the unfaithful servant who did nothing with his (Matthew 25:29).
How blessed we are, Christian. It only gets better. And to our non-believing friends, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8). It is good in this life with Him. And it will be multiple times better with Him in the next.
Pastor Rich Hamlin
July 29, 2021