At church this morning, there were two things that stood out to me.
1. The pastor was preaching about heaven. He was saying that there will be no physical pain there, and that resonated with a number of people, who had to deal with aches, pains, and illness. The pastor also said that rejection and jealousy will be long forgotten. That resonated with me.
There was a season of my life in which I really longed for heaven. I felt lonely. Jonathan Edwards’ sermon on heaven really ministered to me at that time: Edwards said that, if you find that you have no companions, don’t hate those who reject you, but look forward to heaven, which will be a world of love. That kind of hope got me through bad days. At the church that I attended at that time, a lady liked to sing, “I want to go to heaven and rest, I’m tired of living down here, I’m tired of toils and troubles, I want to go to heaven and rest.”
There is a skeptical part of me: How do I even know that there is a blessed afterlife? Maybe that’s all wishful thinking. I find that, nowadays, I do not think about heaven all that much. But the pastor’s sermon this morning reminded me of a time when I did. And it reminded me of why so many other people long for it.
2. Someone from the congregation gave a testimony. He was saying that he was on Facebook, and there was a lot of nastiness. He was not too specific about what that nastiness was, but my hunch is that he may have interacted with some atheist trolls. He said that he came to the church and prayed. He concluded that faith is something that is within, and he talked about the clarity and the comfort that his faith has given him.
I would probably agree with some of those atheist trolls on certain issues. Still, in terms of my faith, I have faith on account of the same reasons that the young man gave this morning: it gives me clarity and comfort.