Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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God expects us to patiently and adequately comfort one another with reassurance of His gracious love, His continual presence, and His sustaining promises. In this way, we are to soothe life’s deep hurts.

Comforting another usually falls between two other Togethers – that of hurting with one another that best precedes comforting and counseling one another which is usually most helpful after comforting.

So you will more easily remember, I will say this twice. Biblical comforting consists of reassuring one another of God’s love, God’s continual presence, and God’s promises.
Again, Biblical comforting consists of reassuring one another of God’s love, God’s continual presence, and God’s promises.

The first aspect of comforting another Christian is reassuring them of God’s love.

God is called the God of all comfort. He comforts us all the time if we pay attention to His love, His continual presence, and His promises. Then, because we have been comforted by God’s love, presence and promises in the past, we can comfort others. Listen to 2 Cor 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Throughout Scripture, God speaks to us of His comforting love. Phil 2:1 says at the start of a sentence,
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, . . .” Remembering God’s love waivers when things go wrong for us. Therefore, comforting one another of God’s love is paramount. We all should seek our comfort in God’s consistent love. Together we need to continually remind one another that the Lord loved us once deep enough to kill His Son and still loves us moment by moment deeply enough to protect, sustain and deliver us from our trials.

The second aspect of comforting another Christian is reminding and convincing them that Jesus is with them constantly. These familiar words from Ps 23:4 can be very comforting: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Hopefully we remember many times when we were very young and with our parents or someone stronger than us. We felt safe. If we fell off our tricycle and skinned a knee, we knew it would be taken care of by the person in charge, whether a parent at home, a camp counselor, or the babysitter. Therefore, if we responsibly remind one another of God’s constant presence to help, we will all feel more secure.

This is said in Hebrews 13:5-6, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”

The third aspect of comforting another Christian is reminding her or him of God’s promises to protect and sustain and ultimately bring her or him to heaven where everything will be “all right” for the rest of eternity. The writer of Psalm 119 said in verse 76, “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.” Then, just a few verses earlier, verse 50 says, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

All of us can repeat for ourselves and to one another what the Apostle Paul told Timothy, recorded in 2 Tim 4:18: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Heaven is the ultimate promise to comfort us from the most terrible of circumstances.

There will not be anyone to comfort in heaven. Or will there?

In the sense of this Together, there will be no one suffering who needs comforting. So, comforting now is not valuable in heaven for comforting hurting people.

However, if we paid any attention to comforting suffering people before death, it will be so good in heaven to have no one needing comfort for suffering. It will be just like going on vacation where the air is refreshingly pure, every day noticing with a great smile that pollution is gone forever.

However, it just might be that there will be some other kind of comforting needed in heaven not due to suffering. Just as we will likely still need encouraging to do some of the challenging activities in heaven, perhaps there will be things that will be discomforting. They will require a ministry of comforting, to be done by those whose skills in comforting were honed in the past sinful environment.

It will be very good to not have sadness because of suffering when we want to comfort someone in heaven. However, to whatever degree we develop sensitivity now to suffering because we want to comfort, we will experience joy when we comfort in heaven for new challenges and experiences, especially because of our relief that there is no suffering.

Being uncomfortable is not a sin identified in the Bible. For example, if we are beginning a new job, wouldn’t it be likely we would be uncomfortable at the start? Just as we might need to have courage placed in us to take on new responsibilities under a new boss, so we could benefit from someone helping us be a bit more comfortable until confidence sets in.

In this life before death there are many things about which we are uncomfortable. We might not be comfortable learning to use a new cell phone, computer program, or car. Such discomfort is not sin, and, therefore, discomfort and the need to comfort is likely to be in heaven. When we first meet an angel in heaven, or a group of them, we will be excited yet a bit uncomfortable (not afraid) about how we should relate to them. In heaven we will appreciate those who think to make us more comfortable in going to meet angels. Those who recognize the need to comfort us in eternal life will be those who were anxious to comfort fellow believers suffering in the first life.

Comforting in heaven will still include references to God’s love, presence and promises. When we first go to meet angels, it will be good to have someone remind us that God loves us and will be present in our interaction with the angels waiting for us. And, who knows what new promises regarding our relationship with angels will be revealed to us in heaven?

Comforting others now with reminders of God’s love, presence, and promises will prepare us to minister comfort in heaven, comforting discomfort, not suffering.

We comfort others now as we will in heaven, even though it is not the comforting that is this Together of Scripture. We help a spouse feel more comfortable applying for a job or going with us to an office party. We help our children be more comfortable at a large family event or learning to drive. We help our friend be more comfortable trying to get a date with someone he or she is attracted to or meeting new neighbors. Those can be enjoyable tasks. In heaven we will have lots of opportunities to do that kind of comforting.

Let’s look forward to helping other citizens of heaven become comfortable with all those wonderful things that they are not yet comfortable with because they are so new. There will be millions of such opportunities for us to have the joy of helping. For example, and this is pure speculation, perhaps a believer from the sixth century is going to try to drive a car. I doubt that such a person will confidently swagger up to the car and speed off. Nor will we be comfortable riding a camel. Let’s take to heaven the natural ability to help others be comfortable.

Furthermore, God will definitely appreciate those who passed along His comfort by reassuring suffering Christians of His love, presence, and promises. If we have spent time seeing that others in trouble recognize that He is the source of comfort, we will have intimately walked with God. And, in heaven, in some way still mysterious, God will walk a bit more often with us.

Imagine knowing your employer well enough to know he is kind, understanding and forgiving. Someone new is hired and makes a mistake. That person is overwhelmed with despair, thinking that his or her job may be terminated. You tell the person not to worry because the boss will not be harsh or unkind. When the boss finds out that you calmed the new hire by representing him as kind and gentle, your boss will feel honored and be drawn to you as a person.

It is like that with God. He will feel loved by us that we have reassured others of His love, His nearness, and His gracious promises. He will want to be close to us. But, if we were either hard-hearted or too busy with our own agendas to comfort another hurting believer now in this life, He will not be so drawn to spend time with us in heaven.

If this sounds harsh, those who miss out on this closeness of comfort will not be aware that anything is wrong. That’s the way it is in heaven.

Think of your own reaction to people in your neighborhood who go out of their way to greet you versus those who barely give you the time of day. Do you crave to be with the ones who are so into themselves that they hardly notice your presence? Hardly. But, you do look forward to spending a little time with those who have valued you. In so many ways, it is the same with God. He will in some way want to be with those who desired to live His way and take notice of how He wanted things done. The God of all comfort will most certainly want to be with those who comforted one another.

Let’s think a little more about comforting one another this side of death.

In the very worst situations we face and in all those less serious, we are assured that the worst outcome will not befall us. We will not perish. We will not be separated from God’s love. We will not be annihilated. Instead, we will have life everlasting.

So, when others go through difficult and heart-breaking times, we can reassure them of God’s unchanging love, presence and promises. After convincing someone who is suffering of God’s love and presence and promises, then there may be other comforts we have received that specifically apply.

Fortunately, none of us has had to suffer all of the possible bad things that can happen. So, it is not likely that we have gone through the same trials as someone we know who needs to be comforted. But, perhaps through the network of Christian Inner Circles there is someone who has faced the same suffering and can help.

During trials, the aim of our comforting is to sustain hope in God’s care and ultimate control over what is happening. This is done by sharing Scriptures and the truths they contain. We all need to be well-versed in what God has promised in the Bible, His love letter to us. We need to be able, not alone, but as a group, to reassure a suffering person with eternal truth and apply it to their situation.

Comforting is best done by those who are closest in relationship to the one hurting. Christian Inner Circles must minister in very troubled times. Each of us in the Kingdom should know that when life becomes unbearable, we will not be alone. During suffering, many comforting words and actions by the love of those in our Christian Inner Circles will shelter us in God’s love.

Prayer with a person suffering is absolutely necessary. Prayer can reaffirm belief in God’s love, presence and promises. Prayer also seeks God’s help. Eventually, prayer is the connection with God that reveals what else can be done.

Most likely all of us are too quick to give advice. Counseling one another is almost always best done after comfort backed by Scripture and God’s promises have been given patiently. Sharing God’s words from the Bible, explaining eternal truth, and praying take time. We need to not try to solve problems ahead of God’s pattern.

The best nonbelievers can do to comfort is to hopefully say, “Everything is going to be okay.” Our reassurance is more extensive and certain than that. Our reassurance is definite. God will see us through. No matter how bad it gets, heaven awaits, and there are no problems there.