This morning I read Charles Spurgeon's questions, "Has he prepared heaven for you? Has he prepared YOU for heaven?" We know Jesus has a place for us. He told his disciples, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." John 14.
What made me stop and think was the second question, that God is preparing US for heaven. It reminded me of a biography of Hudson Taylor the girls and I read recently. The story of his life as a missionary to China in the 1800's is told in Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China by Janet and Geoff Benge. Taylor, a young Englishman, knew he was called to China, but information about this faraway country in that century was hard to come by. He did know his life would be difficult, so he tried to prepare himself in any way he knew how.
"Every decision and every activity became valuable only if it moved him towards his goal. This focus on China took several forms. First, he realized he would need all the academic training he could get...Second, he needed to toughen up his body. He started with a strenuous exercise program out in the cold. He also got rid of his feather bed and began sleeping on bare boards. He gave away many things that were not essential to his daily life. When I get to China, he told himself, my body must be ready. Third, Hudson had to find some way to learn the Chinese language."
Now I don't think we need to practice physical hardships to prepare for heaven. But some of these principles still apply. Are we moving toward our goal in our daily decisions and activities? Are we encouraging others to come along too?
The main point of Spurgeon's words is that God is the one doing the work in us. What does that look like? Maybe circumstances play out in our lives to prepare us for our eternal future. Hudson Taylor knew life would be different in China. We really don't know what heaven will be like. So how can we prepare for it? But God knows. He knows what we need before we get there. Maybe even our difficult situations here on earth are a preparation for life with him. So in all things we can give thanks because it all comes from his hand. We don't exactly know everything he's doing, but that's okay. We'll be ready when the time comes.