"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Heaven Is All The More Dear

By Dave Butts

    At the end of 2003, my mother went to be with the Lord. Though the void is real, with the tears to match, the joy of her eternal life with Christ more than sustains our family. As she joins my earthly father in heaven, it seems to me that heaven is even more desirable than before.

    I’m at an age when many of my family and friends have already made the transition to heaven. What a joy it is to speak of death that way! That’s why the Psalmist could say, "Precious in the sight of the Lord are the deaths of His saints" (Psalm 116:15). We find ourselves literally longing for heaven and the great reunion that awaits us there.

    The sad truth, however, is that we have many more friends and family who do not yet have the assurance of heaven. Jesus Christ has not yet been accepted as Lord and Savior of their lives. While we long for heaven, we must long even more to share Christ with others, so that they too may be prepared for the end of this life. Whether we speak of those we know, or those on the other side of the planet, we must develop in our lives a passion to bring people to Jesus.

    For most of us, this will require a realignment of priorities and passions. For virtually all of us it means the need for a greater passion and focus in prayer.

    As I dealt with the details surrounding my mother’s death and funeral, the temporary nature of this life kept coming back to me. It all passes so fast. What are we doing with the time God has given us? Are we becoming more or less effective in Kingdom work? As I thought of these things, I remembered a prayer that I had written last summer when I turned fifty. Though it is of a personal nature, I thought it might be of some value concerning matters to pray about as we consider the time that remains to each of us.

    "Dear Lord,

    I’m turning fifty! When I was a kid, fifty sounded so old. Today it seems, if not young, at least not old. Maybe mature. I want to thank You for the past fifty years. All that I have and am has come from You.

    Fifty years ago You were present at my birth. You knew every thing that would take place in the coming years for that little baby. Through the years You have watched over my steps, even when I wasn’t always aware of You. Thank You.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the Psalmist who declared, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance" (Psalm 16:6). In both my family of birth and in my family of choice, You have greatly blessed me. You have given me a ministry far beyond my wildest expectations. I am grateful.

    Now, Lord, what about the years ahead of me? There are no surprises for You. You’ve already been there and have seen what has happened. But my sight fails as I look to the future. My confidence is in You, both now and tomorrow. You have been faithful for the past fifty years and I know Your faithfulness will continue.

    Lord, there are a lot of things I would like to have done differently these past fifty years. I know I can’t go back and change that. But I would ask for things to be different in the years ahead. Above all else, I want to live in a way that honors and pleases You always.

    I love serving You, Jesus. I would ask You for many years of the continual privilege of serving You. In boldness, I ask for an additional forty years of full-strength service in Your Kingdom. Give me wisdom, strength, and provision to make these years of ministry more effective than all that has gone on before.

    Lord, I do not know the timing of Your coming. Perhaps it is before those forty years have passed. I would gladly lay down any of those years for the joy of seeing You face-to-face.

    May the joy of serving You never interfere with the joy of intimacy with You. I want to know You better each passing day.

    Lord, may the years ahead be rich in loving relationships. Continually deepen the love Kim and I have for one another as we serve You together. Bring our sons to full maturity in the faith. May our grandchildren-to-come be those who bring joy to You as they serve You with their whole hearts. Give us an extended family that is united in our love for You.

    You have given me the treasure of wonderful friends. Teach me to show love and appreciation for them daily. Help me to be open to new friends You send my way. May I minister to them in the love You so richly provide.

    Draw me ever closer to You, Lord. May prayer become as breathing to me…essential for life itself. Thank You for fifty, Jesus. I look forward to many more years of walking with You on this planet. And then…it just gets better. Amen."