I Shall Soon Be in Heaven!
James Smith, 1858
A Christian man was habitually cheerful, and his cheerfulness attracted the attention of some, who from a knowledge of the trying circumstances in which he was placed, could not account for it. They therefore proposed the question to him, "How is it, that in your poor circumstances, you can be so cheerful?" What think you was his reply? In a manner that indicated deep sincerity, and true humility he replied, "I shall soon be in heaven!"
He knew his sins were pardoned, for he believed in Jesus. He felt that he was reconciled to God, and was at peace with him. He lived and walked in fellowship with God, and therefore carried within himself the assurance, that absent from the body, he should be present with the Lord. He indulged in no sin; he suffered many privations — therefore earth had lost all its attractions, and life in this world, all its charms. His conversation was in Heaven, his affections were set on things above, and he was daily looking for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
And why should not all the Lord's people be cheerful? Why should they not, as Scripture requires, be rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer? Has not the Lord made provision for our present happiness — as well as for our future glorification? May not the least, the feeblest, of the Lord's little ones, live under the impression, "I shall soon be in Heaven!" Surely, if we were to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, if we were to make our calling and election sure, and if we were walking humbly with our God — we might live in daily anticipation of soon being in that Heavenly country, and so rise superior to our trials and troubles. Beloved, let us seek assurance, let us pray more for the sealing of the Holy Spirit, that we may do all we do, and suffer all we are called to suffer, under the deep conviction of the animating fact, "I shall soon be in heaven!"
"I shall soon be in heaven!" WHAT is Heaven? A place so glorious, that no one can describe it. A state so blessed, that no one can adequately represent it. There every evil is shut out, and every good is shut in. There only saints and angels are to be found, and there peace and pleasure always abound. Heaven! it is the house of God. Heaven! it is the home of Jesus. Heaven! it is the eternal residence of the saints. And am I to be in Heaven? Yes, God has prepared it for me. Jesus has opened the way to it. The Holy Spirit is qualifying me to enjoy it. The gospel calls me to it. And in some of the most hallowed seasons of my life, I have enjoyed foretastes of it!
"I shall soon be in heaven!" How soon? Who can tell? It may be within a month, within a week, within an hour. At any moment I may hear the Master's voice, saying, "Come up hither!" All is uncertain to us. The hour is fixed — but it is not revealed. God keeps it as a secret in his own heart — that I may be always ready, and day by day look out for the coming of the Lord.
"I shall soon be in heaven!" With this thought before the mind — let us form all our plans, undertake every engagement, and perform every duty. With this idea working within, let us worship, suffer, and do all that appears to be the will of God. O if this thought were kept always in view — how it would influence our transactions in trade, our conduct in the family, and our dealings one with another. What an effect it would have upon us in all that we do. Could we eat, drink, and dress as we do — if we lived under the daily conviction, "I shall soon be in Heaven?" Surely not! There would, there must be a great change on these points with many of us, and a change for the better too.
O Holy Spirit, give me the sweet, the abiding conviction, that Heaven is my home; and day by day, and many times in the day, whisper in the ear of my soul, "You will soon be in Heaven!" O my soul, let this thought be daily before you, and live and act always, and in everything under its powerful influence!