Thursday, July 7, 2011
The Outlook That Changed History!
A Glimpse of Heaven
I had a vision once which made me take my Christian life far more seriously than I had ever done before.
In this vision, I saw myself as one who was active in Christian activities. I went to Christian meetings, taught in the Sunday School, and now and then visited the sick. In all these things I was quite sincere and had no idea of playing the hypocrite. In fact, I considered myself to be quite a shining light.
Without any warning, I became terribly sick one day, and was brought to the brink of death. But since I was a born-again Christian, I knew that I could rely on the mercy of my Saviour. Then I lost consciousness, and all of a sudden, found myself in heaven. It was wonderful to see the saints of God there.
At first I was swallowed up with great joy with the thought that I was safe and free from sin- and I was. But then I began to feel lonely and a little sad. I somehow felt unfit to mingle with these glorious saints.
My thoughts went back to my past life and it unfolded before me like a movie-film. But across it all was written the one word “Forgiven”. “Oh, praise God,” I thought, “there is no record of my sins.”
But further glance at the record of my life troubled me. The record showed my thoughts, feelings, actions etc. It showed how and for what I had used the time, talents and money which God had entrusted me with, during my life on earth.
Now I saw the world as God saw it- reeking with lust, adultery, hatred, witchcraft, war, lying, gossiping, rebellion, greed, pride, hypocrisy etc. I could now see the millions blinded by sin, staggering and falling into the pit of hell. No one seemed to care for them. I also heard the screams of agony of those caught in the web of sin. But no one seemed interested in helping them.
I had been too busy (during my earthly life), having fun- even religious fun. As I now saw myself and my way of life as God had seen it, I became sick with the realization that I had lived selfishly.
“If only I could get back my wasted life," I thought. But that could never be possible. My opportunities on earth were now past. “Oh God”, I thought, “I would give anything to have lived my life to its fullest for Christ”.
Suddenly one of the glorious saints came to me. He said he had come to hear me tell of the victories I had won and of the souls I had had the privilege of pointing to Christ. What could I say? All I could remember was my life of ease and comfort. My life had been filled with seeking to please myself. He asked me concerning his son. His son had been full of rebellion and he had lived near me. “Did you speak to him of Christ? Is there some hope of his being saved?” he asked.
My heart sank within me as I heard his question. What could I reply? I had known the boy and his problems. But not wanting to get involved in his difficulties. I had ignored him. The boy's father must have guessed the truth when he saw me silent. He looked at me with a look of disappointment for himself and pity for me, and then slowly turned and went away.
And then I saw another glorious person. This was a widow who had struggled through great difficulties on earth, and had led all her children to Christ except her youngest girl. She told me that her youngest daughter had been led astray by the empty glamour of the world. “If someone had shown her Christ's love perhaps she might have opened her eyes,” she said, “You knew her. Did you take time to talk to her?” Again I was silent. I bent my head down as I could no longer bear to see her looking intently at me for an answer.
As I was deep in thought, another form appeared before me. This was the glorified form of one who had been a black man on earth. He introduced himself and asked me concerning the Christian group with whom he had labored and of his companions whom he had left behind- many of whom I knew. “Did you try to help them?” he asked, “Was your life an example to them? Please tell me, did you make some attempt to lead them to salvation?”
I knew his group. But I had never given them any encouragement or help. I had reasoned that they did not belong to my group, they did not hold my convictions, and they were quite different from me in many respects. But now in the clear light of heaven, I could see that I had been full of spiritual pride. “Oh God,” I thought, “Is this heaven? Will the selfishness of my past life haunt me throughout eternity? Lord, I feel so wretched and unworthy. If only I could live my life over again.”
I felt nothing but anguish and wondered if I would find any comfort at all in heaven. I had wasted my life in useless ambitions and trifling pleasures- when it might have been filled with sowing deeds that would have produced a never-ending harvest of heavenly fruit.
Then I saw a marvelous sight. Thousands of God's faithful servants through the ages were passing by me. They looked like gods and I would have given anything to possess their joy and beauty. And then I saw Jesus, the King of kings Himself. What a look of love and admiration He gave those faithful servants of His, as though He was saying. “Well done, My faithful brothers.” Oh, that look of Jesus! I felt it would be worth dying a hundred deaths to get one such loving look of recognition from Him.
Then He turned and look at me- in pity- and said, “You will find yourself very little in harmony with these who laid down their lives to bring honor to Me”.
“Oh God! Oh God!”, I cried, “Hide my shame. If only I had valued the opportunities that You had given me to serve You. Why did I chase after such hollow ambitions and comforts? Lord, help me!”
Mercifully, it was only a vision. I awoke to find that I was still on earth. I still had opportunity to live my life completely for Him Who had given up everything for me.