By: Amy Dalke
I have some big affection for hymns. My heart skips a beat when hymns are sung, played, or displayed in some kind of artwork.
And I’m just nerdy enough that 20% of my iTunes library was inspired by hymns written in the 1800’s. In other words, it’s not uncommon for me to sing things like What a Friend We Have in Jesus when I’m driving down Highway 359. In fact, I listened to When We All Get to Heaven on my way to the grocery store on Friday afternoon. I would insert a YouTube video of the song here, but I’m confident that would give you a boring impression of the hymn’s classic awesomeness. So here’s a quick peak at some of the lyrics instead:
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we’ll sing and shout the victory!
Onward to the prize before us!
Soon his beauty we’ll behold;
soon the pearly gates will open;
we shall tread the streets of gold.
As I paid attention to the lyrics, it struck me how we short-sell ourselves when we think all our joy is reserved for heaven.
When Pastor Ben’s sermon on Sunday echoed that same thought process, I wanted to leap off my chair and say, “Oh my- yes!” (I didn’t do that though, because I didn’t feel like making things awkward in church this morning.)
It’s easy to view this earthly life as a thing to endure until real life with God begins when we die. This is especially true when life isn’t all that Jesus cracked it up to be. We look around and wonder who got all this abundance he promised.
You’re so overwhelmed at work that you can’t breathe. The diagnosis is exactly opposite of what you had prayed. Sinking oil prices sunk the need for your position. The quantity of emails from your child’s teacher outweigh your sanity. The bills exceed your cash flow.
And one hard thing hits right after another.
But smack dab in the middle of despair, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
Maybe you think that statement has nothing to do with your situation. But frankly, it has EVERYTHING to do with it!!
Jesus is just as alive today as he was on the original Easter morning. Which means he is able, ready, and willing to breathe new life into all that seems hopeless. Since Jesus lives in this very moment, the good stuff that awaits us in heaven is present wherever we are right now. There is resurrection glory to be discovered in each breath we take; but we’ll miss it if we’re counting all that’s wrong instead.
Yes, it will all be okay in the end. But Jesus is here in the now. And he wants to invade our life on earth with the reality of heaven’s hope.
Here’s the Best News Ever: No matter how dreadful the circumstances look; despite how we feel; and regardless how unlikely it appears that good will prevail, Jesus invites us to believe him instead.
And since it’s hymn day or something (It’s not really. I’m just saying that.), this chorus is the perfect ending to this post:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
You can pretty much guarantee that this song will be playing in my car this week. (Don’t judge. I would play things like Uptown Funk if I could understand the words.)
This is the 5th week of our Lenten series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each post this week will focus on Jesus as the Resurrection & the Life.