Suddenly a bright light flashed across the bow, nearly blinding the captain. The other ship was on a collision course with his. Straightaway, he signaled to it, “Change your direction.” He quickly received a signal back, “You change your direction!” Put off, the captain sent another message, “This is Captain Palmer. I order you to change your direction.” Without delay, he received the reply, “This is Mark Forsyth. You are to change your heading.” Boiling, the captain sent a third message, “I am a ship of the US Navy. I order you to change your direction immediately.” Without hesitation, the third response arrived, “I am a lighthouse. Change yours before it’s too late.”
There is one harbor that each of us hopes to reach when our sail is pulled down for the last time, that of Heaven. Its entrance is tight, though, and there are many rocks that surround its approach. The rocks represent the Judgment Day of God, in which each of us must stand before God, entirely alone. The Bible shines the only beam to point the way to avoid those rocks of judgment. Its light is the GOOD NEWS about Jesus, His death and resurrection. When Jesus died on the cross, He suffered God’s judgment on sin. He took the punishment for us.
We don’t have to wait until death visits us to know if we will get to Heaven. It was 48 years ago, as I write this, September 12, that that beam flashed across my eyes. In its bright light, I realized I wasn’t good enough for Heaven. I also learned that Jesus had taken all the punishment I deserved when He died on the cross. Up to that point in my life, I thought of Jesus as a historical figure, like Abraham Lincoln. But I learned that night that Jesus was alive! He came back to life three days after His crucifixion. Supplied with this information, I asked Jesus to forgive me for my many sins, to come into my life, and to take over the steering wheel of my life.
It was at that moment that I was given the promise that I would safely pass into the harbor of Heaven when my time came. The Bible gives this assurance in 1 John 5:11-13, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS [eternal] LIFE; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”
Hopefully, being assured that I will go to Heaven hasn’t resulted in me becoming arrogant. I still realize, even more after these 48 years, that I do not deserve Heaven. I thank God every day for His love, grace, and mercy found in Jesus. If you haven’t yet settled the issue about Heaven, I hope you’ll do that soon. Like Captain Palmer above, it’s time to heed the warning and change direction.