“And they lived happily ever after” is not just a fairytale ending, but also a Gospel promise. The story of every Christian, which begins in new birth, is one that goes on forever with each chapter bettering the previous chapter. For the child of God, it is always the case that the best is yet to come. God’s grace has always got another surprise in store for the follower of Christ (John 1:16; James 4:6). The Old Testament reminds us in Proverbs 4:18, “the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Not to be outdone, the New Testament reminds us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In both verses we are reminded that the Christian experience is an ever expanding one, one that grows brighter and brighter and moves from one experience of glory to an even fuller experience of glory. Listen! The longer the Christian lives, the more the Christian gets to live. Time does not diminish our experience of God’s greatness or goodness, but rather expands it. The Christian life really does end with a great happy ever after.
This happy ever after story in which every chapter is better than the one before is best described for us in Revelation 21-22. Here the apostle John, having been given a revelation of the future by the risen Christ, outlines for us what life will look like for those who will inherit and inhabit the new heaven and earth! This boundless bliss will involve presence without absence (Rev. 21:3); life without death (Rev. 21:4); health without sickness (Rev. 21:4); joy without sorrow (Rev. 21:4); laughter without tears (Rev. 21:4); service without exhaustion (Rev. 22:3); blessing without cursing (Rev. 22:3); light without darkness (Rev. 22:5); and victory without interruption (Rev. 22:5). This is the stuff dreams are made of; but this is no dream, it is the promised inheritance of those who have been born again unto this living hope (1 Peter 1:3-9). The Christian has much to look forward to; our future is always better than our past.
Some time ago I read a story by Dr. David Jeremiah in which he tells of a Christian lady who was dying and asked to see her pastor in order to make funeral arrangements. After going over a pretty standard order of service, the woman asked something rather strange from the pastor. She asked that the pastor ensure that she be buried with a fork in her right hand. When the pastor inquired as to why, he was told that during the times she had served in the kitchen at the church, she always loved that moment during a church social when the main course was cleared away and someone would tell the folks to keep their forks for the best was yet to come. That call signaled that dessert was about to be served. As the pastor listened he came to understand the meaning behind the strange request. This woman’s burial with a fork in her right hand would communicate to those who knew her that she died in the hope of the gospel, a hope that invites the expectation of a better life and unending happiness beyond death. Beyond this vale of tears there is a happy ever after.
Earth has no sadness that heaven will not heal!