Hope of Heaven


Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead,
how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised,
your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hoped in this life only,
we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For as by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
I Corinthians 15:12, 16-22, ESV

Together with meditating on Christ’s resurrection and the great Christian hope of immortality, we could ask God to increase our desire for heaven and all it contains and for the anticipation of a future state in which we will have a new body patterned after Christ’s glorified body. Then, if we have substituted the favor of men and the things of this world for that which is only God’s and heaven’s to give, we have the great privilege of asking for the grace to deeply repent.  

We can be turned around to once again face Him.  We are no longer compelled to substitute the shadow for the real, our impressions about glory for the thing itself.  [1]

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Church celebrates Easter for several weeks for good reason – we need this time to contemplate His risen life and all it means. Paul points out the pitiable state of a believer who hopes in this life only, a critical caution for us today. We may not struggle with conscious unbelief in resurrection of the dead, but often we Christians live with too little joy at what awaits us. And when we lack a vision of heaven, we are too easily attracted to the lesser things of this world.  Praise God for His myriad ways of moving us to look up! His Spirit stirs longings in our hearts that are undeniably larger than this life. The daily, often-painful evidence that our present bodies are corruptible moves us to thank God for our coming resurrection bodies.  He reveals His splendor in creation, arresting us in moments of awe. His angels are with us, continually enticing our attention heavenward. All these promptings and more inspire us to affirm that a day is coming when we will be raised incorruptible – alleluia!
PRAYER:  Gracious Father, we do ask you now to increase our desire for heaven.  Whisper to our hearts about the glory that awaits us.  Make us free as Your children to boldly delight in the joy of anticipation. Increase in us the supernatural gift of faith in Christ’s resurrection.  Anoint us to proclaim His incorruptible life to all in need around us. We thank and praise You for imparting to us the hope of heaven.

 [1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 222.

Painting: Fra Angelico, 1440, Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.