There was a lot of whispering around the water cooler. My supervisor was a candidate for Vice President of the department. Many asked, “Was she qualified?” Others thought, “There has never been a woman in this position before,” and “Is she even suitable for the task?” Although there were at least four other candidates, she was chosen to carry the torch of Vice President. Never had I been so proud of my boss of three years. My coworkers and I had a big celebration dinner filled with joy and plenty of gifts to honor her new-found success. Finally, her hard work had paid off and she was headed for bigger and better things.
After the initial excitement died down, I was hit with the news that there would now be a few more additional changes. Although the promotion was a wonderful achievement, I never considered that I would no longer report to my fearless leader. As she moved up the corporate ladder, there was now a new vacancy in the department and things were about to shift. Her current position needed to be filled and I needed a new supervisor.
There was again a lot of whispering around the water cooler. “Who would be the candidate for the new position?” “Would that person be as qualified as my last supervisor?” and “Is this person going to be suitable for the task?” Many candidates began to come into the office. With each interview, anxiety began to build and an unseen dark cloud began to fill the atmosphere. My work environment was encompassed with a state of worry and fear of the unknown. Finally, a new candidate was hired and things began to change.
Through this experience, I realized three things: God is sovereign, change is inevitable and worry and fear is the absence of faith and trust. I often wonder why God sometimes never fully discloses the stipulations of his blessings. For example, even when there is a promotion, we often lose things in the process in order to grow. As God takes us to higher heights and deeper depths, we may lose some friends along the way and may have to endure a lot of negative “whispers” and our faith may be challenged. We may feel uncomfortable at times, but we cannot let fear overtake our hearts, because even though our situation may transform, there is a time and season for every change and this too shall pass.
We must fully trust God that our outcome will be in our favor and even when we go through the process of not knowing the future, there should be a reassurance that God is in control. God encourages us in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He also reminds us in 1 Peter 5:7, to “Cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us.” God is with us, through the journey of moving into the blessings He has prepared for us. He is with us when people speak words filled with questions of doubt and uncertainty and He is with us through the midst of change. Leave the unknown results to God, and never fear the outcome of moving forward.
HEAVEN!!! Everyone wants to go there and imagines what it’s like…pearly gates, golden roads, what have you. Revelation 21: 18 says “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.” Sounds beautiful but does everyone make it in?
My pastor recently gave the most poignant sermon about heaven I have ever heard! He briefly mentioned a video, maybe you saw it too? I had already seen the video when he mentioned it. Before I go on, let me say my desire is not to bash Pope Francis. Let’s talk about Heaven and how we get there. This video was about Pope Francis welcoming a little boy up close to him. The little boy was distraught because his father, an atheist, had just died and the little boy wondered if his father would go to heaven. Pope Francis mentions how the man had all four of his children baptized; must be a good man and passed along his goodness to his children. The Pope goes on to say how God doesn’t abandon his children. Ok, but what about us abandoning God? Further in the video clip it sounds as though this man was actually able to go to heaven because he was a good man and he tells the little boy to pray for his father who already died. A purgatory reference? Maybe. The clip gets cut off so we don’t see the rest of what was said.
This man was an atheist, he didn’t believe in God. Just like other atheists, he may have denounced God and His existence. So, why would this man be in heaven? Scripture says we get to heaven:
“I (Jesus) am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
So, how could an atheist, someone who didn’t believe in God, make it to heaven? Scripture is clear that there is only one way into heaven…faith, belief in, relationship with Jesus Christ! There is no Scriptural evidence of purgatory, if that is what was meant when Pope Francis told the boy to pray for his deceased father.
Remember the thief on the cross? The one who hung next to Jesus rebuking the other criminal and asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus entered Heaven? What did Jesus say? “Jesus answered him ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43). This happened in this man’s final dying moments. Isn’t it possible that in this man’s final dying moments he did the same thing, accepted Jesus, and made it into heaven? It’s not enough to be good. There’s only one way to heaven, through Jesus.