I have often said that the first things I am going to do when I get to Heaven is to ask, “Why me, Lord? Why did you choose a farmboy from North Carolina to preach to so many people, to have such a wonderful team of associates, and to have part in what You were doing in the latter half of the twentieth century?”
One of the joys of Heaven, I am convinced, will be discovering the hidden ways that God in His sovereignty acted in our lives on earth to protects us and guide us so as to bring glory to His name, in spite of our frailty.
As I look back over the years, however, I know that my deepest feeling is one of overwhelming gratitude. I cannot take credit for whatever God has chosen to accomplish through us and out ministry; only God deserves the glory, and we can never thank Him enough for the great things He has done.
Although I have much to be grateful for as I look back on my life, I also have many regrets. I have failed many times, and I would do many things differently.
For one thing, I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family. I would also spend more time in spiritual nurture, seeking to grow closer to God so I could become more like Christ. I would spend more time in prayer, not just for myself but for others. I would spend more time studying the Bible and meditating on its truth, not only for sermon preparation but to apply its message to my life.
And I would give more attention to fellowship with other Christians, who could teach me and encourage me (and even rebuke me when necessary).
About one thing I have absolutely no regrets, however, and that is my commitment many years ago to accept God’s calling to serve Him as an evangelist of the Gospel of Christ. I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life.
But I look forward to Heaven.
I look forward to the reunion with friends and loved ones who have gone on before. I look forward to Heaven’s freedom from sorrow and pain. I also look forward to serving God in ways we can’t begin to imagine, for the Bible makes it clear that Heaven is not a place of idleness.
And most of all, I look forward to seeing Christ and bowing before Him in praise and gratitude for all He has done for us, and for using me on this earth by His grace – just as I am.
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