John and I spent a lot of time at Lake Almanor this summer. A walk on wooded trail or drive through Lassen National Forest is a heavenly experience. It makes me feel close to God, but it also makes me think of the hope we have in Christ.
Since the first day we believed in Jesus as our Savior, that the precious blood He shed was for the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God, we have been on a highway to heaven. While I'd like to think of it as a jeweled staircase or a treelined path, Jesus gives another perspective. He said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me," Luke 9:23, and "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world," John 16:33.
Jesus showed us what the highway to heaven looks like. He went by the name that even today brings rejection and persecution, but He gives us this encouragement: "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it," John 14:12-14, and "If you love me, keep my commands. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever," John 14:15-16.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is always with us, for comfort, counsel, peace, and strength. We have nothing to fear for greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world.
The highway to heaven is not the popular way that leads to destruction, but it is the narrow way that leads to eternity with our Lord. And surely His mercy and love will follow us all the days of our lives, on earth and in heaven.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the hope of heaven. Thank you for showing us the way, even being the way (John 14:6). Thank you for the peace and supernatural strength to follow you. Amen.