She must have been scared to death. She wasn’t a public speaker. But that day she’d agreed to speak to 70,000 people in a football stadium in the Northwest. It was the last day of Billy Graham’s Crusade in her city and he had asked her to read a letter she’d received from her son. It was the end of the first Gulf War, and the troops were coming home; except for a relatively few American soldiers who weren’t coming home. Her son was one of them. He died in a helicopter crash on the last day of the war.
Her son had written a letter to his mother and given it to a good friend with instructions to mail it only if he was killed. Now she was preparing to share that letter with the masses in that stadium, knowing that her son still had something to say. “Mom, if you’re reading this letter, it means I didn’t make it. But that’s OK, Mom. Because I’m seeing heaven. I’m seeing Jesus!”
What a way to live! What a way to die – knowing that all death is going to do is send you to heaven…to see the One whose death and resurrection opened the door for you to be there. God wants for you to be able to say and to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that thirty seconds after you’re gone, you’re going to be saying, “I’ve seen heaven! I’ve seen Jesus!”
Is it possible to really know that you’re going to heaven when you die? Not if you have to earn heaven by living a good life. You’ll never know if you’re good enough. Keanu Reeves starred in a movie that had some supernatural subject matter. In an interview he was asked, “What are your notions of heaven and hell, and eternal damnation vs. eternal bliss?” He said, “Well, I hope I get the bliss. And I know I’m going to have to work for it.”
A lot of folks think that way. God doesn’t. He actually says in His book, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:5). You can’t possibly do enough good to satisfy a perfect God or to pay the death penalty for the sinning you’ve done. It took Jesus to do that.
God tells us that when those who belong to Him are “away from the body,” they are “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). How can you be sure that will be you? As Jesus was dying on the cross, there was a criminal on one side of Him who had started out mocking Him like everybody else. Then, in Luke 23:42-43, he suddenly says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” What changed him? Moments before, He had heard Jesus say these words from the cross: “Father, forgive them.” And that criminal must have thought, “If Jesus would forgive the people who nailed Him there, then He’d forgive me for my sin.” Here was Jesus’ amazing answer, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
That’s what He wants to say to you when you’ve breathed your last breath, “Today you’ll be with Me in heaven – and forever.” But that can only happen if you put all your trust in the One who said from the cross where He died for you, “Father, forgive them.” He was forgiving you that day. But it’s like a gift He’s offering you. You have to take what He paid for at such a high price.
When should you do that? The Bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:3). Why would you wait one more day to turn from your sin, to put your trust in Jesus to forgive your sin, and have every sin erased from God’s book forever? Why would you wait one more day to trade hell for heaven when you don’t know how many more days you’ll have?
Let this be your Jesus day. Tell Him now, “Jesus, I believe when You died on that cross it was for sinning I have done. And, Jesus, I am yours from this day on.” Our website is there to just help you make sure that you belong to Him. I wish you’d go there as soon as you can today.
There is no greater peace than going to sleep at night knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt what will happen when you have taken your last breath. You’re going to be seeing heaven and you’ll be seeing Jesus.