Summer, one of my favorite seasons, is almost here! Already it is hot enough to be summer; today the temperature climbed into the upper 80s, but that’s a good thing because I like to stretch summer out as long as possible. When the hot days come early and linger well past the official end date on the calendar, I consider ALL those days SUMMER. But even when I do that – milk out a few extra days or weeks, summer is still just too short. Always, it seems, I am left wondering, “What happened? Where did it go? I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to!” For example, last year, we never made it to the ocean. Not even once.
This summer will be different, or so I have promised myself. I am making plans – plans that include time at the ocean, time walking on the beach, time sailing, time fishing, time watching the dolphins, time eating freshly caught seafood and time hot air ballooning! Yes, summer seems to come and go in a flash, but I have a plan to milk everything out of it that I can.
Life comes and goes in a flash, too! Never thought I would say that. Remember being a child and waiting for your birthday? Or Christmas? Or recess? Or the last day of school? Time drug. Time crawled. Time slept. My mother used to tell me to just wait, though. She said, “When you get older, time will fly.” “Just get to be 30 years old,” she said, “and you will see the years coming in multiples of five, possibly ten.” She was right. You go to bed one night and you’re 29, but you wake up 40. You roll over for another snooze, and you wake up 50. After 50? Well, I won’t depress you “young’uns,” and those of you who are over 50? Well, you already know.
The funny thing, though, is that we make plans for summer, and for Christmas, and birthdays and even for recess – who we will play with, what games we will play, which boys we want to walk past, which girls we will talk to… But are you making plans for the most important time? Where you will spend eternity! Are you planning to go to Heaven? If you answer, “Yes,” what exactly is your plan? If it isn’t relying on Christ alone, you need another plan. Works, good looks and being nice aren’t enough. John 6:44 (NIV) teaches that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day,” and John 14:6 (NIV) makes it clear that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through” Him.
Even our best laid plans for the beach may go awry. Life happens. Things come up. Plans have to change. But we can have every confidence in God and the plan that He has laid for our salvation. Instead of trusting our goodness and crossing our fingers and hoping we go to Heaven, we can trust Jesus and His goodness because He alone is God’s way of salvation. When we place absolute faith and trust in Him, turn from our sinful way and follow Him, we know that we will live with Him in Heaven. And not just for a summer. Forever!
Now while some Christians would disagree, as I read and understand the Scriptures especially the teaching of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:8, at death we immediately – in a flash – enter the presence of the Lord. Paul led a life full of danger, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end. But he faced death with hope that we can share: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” He further declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).
One last thought. Summer is always best when shared – with family, friends, special loves. I’m thinking Heaven will be extra special when shared, so don’t just plan on going alone. Plan for others to meet you there.
THIS WEEK share the Gospel (click the tab above to visit our Salvation page) with others – friends, family members, absolute strangers! Let’s plan for a heavenly crowd!