Resilience Part 3: Focusing on Heaven

Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:25:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Jesus knows that we will never find our life in this fallen, sinful world; therefore, He calls us to abandon all for Him, and in this abandonment Jesus will lead us to heaven.  Jesus’s way is full of life, joy and laughter.  When I hold on loosely to the things that this world has to offer and obey Jesus’s call to heaven, then I’m still left with life, joy and laughter when these things are taken away.

Because of heaven, my resolve for resilience is not short sighted.

I don’t bounce back just so that I can experience some moments of happiness in this life.  I don’t fight the battles of my mind just so that I can feel on top of the world and be successful again.   I don’t strive for health just so I can feel some comfort again after a long period of pain.  Instead, my motivation to be resilient is so that I’ll make it to heaven, and I understand that heaven is always just one heart beat away.

Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13-14 resonate with me:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

These words written by the apostle Paul reveal so much about his character and purpose in life.  First of all he does not focus on the what if’s in his life.  He does not let his past define him.  He does not nurse resentments for what didn’t happen. Rather, Paul forgets what is behind and strains towards what is ahead.  What is ahead for him?  He says heaven.  Paul is being called by God heavenward and nothing his going to stop him from reaching his goal – to be with God in heaven.

God had to interrupt Paul’s plans big time in order to teach him that heaven is all that matters. Paul was heading to Damascus to persecute Christians and put them to death when God struck him blind on that road and confronted him.  After 3 days of pondering what had happened, Paul got up and was baptized into Christ and began to convert people to Christianity rather than persecute them.  Paul in turn was persecuted for his zeal to spread the gospel of salvation everywhere he went.

Paul is an example to us all on how heaven motivated him to be resilient through the worst of circumstances.  Paul’s motivation was not only to get himself to heaven but to help as many people as possible to be on this path also.  He endured prison, floggings, ship wrecks, and he was in constant danger as he traveled by foot and sea to minister to the churches.   Link to verse: 2 Corinthians 11:21-30

Life is really fragile.  It doesn’t take much for an event to alter the rest of our days on this earth.  However, if we abandon our lives and follow Jesus to this glorious heavenward place, then no matter what happens, nothing will keep us down.  

I compare living in this world like living in a rental because it isn’t your permanent home.  You don’t rent an apartment with the intention to live there for 30 years. Also, you always know in the back of your mind that you can be given a 30 day move-out notice at any time.  I have seen this happen to many of my friends who were renting a house or an apartment.  They had to scramble to find a new place to rent because the Landlord decided to sell the property or they were raising the rent too high.

Just like the 30 day move-out notice, we can be given a diagnosis from our doctor that we have only a few months to live due to cancer spreading throughout our body with no hope for a cure.  We all know brothers and sisters right now who were given this type of diagnosis.  We are following their status on Facebook.  We are praying for them.  Actually, I believe they are the lucky ones.  They are the ones who know that all that matters is going to heaven and being with God.  Just think how powerful our lives would be if we would live like we have been given a few months to live.

My new life in Medford is now starting to take shape.  My new home is all set up and decorated.  God has blessed me more than I could ever imagine.  I’m back to working a 40 hour work week in my home office for my California company, and I love my job.  I’m walking the neighborhood during my lunch break with my next door neighbor, Dede.  I’m building relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the Rogue Valley Church and hosting events in my home.

I still cry every single day for the life I have lost with Kevin.  I’m still grieving the loss of my sister, Joanne.  I still miss my dog, Mei Mei, walking into my bedroom every morning and sneezing all over the carpet.  You cannot rush grief, but I’m grieving with hope.  (2/10/2018 – I just found out my mother passed away at 10:00 a.m. EST in a nursing home near Tampa, Florida.  My resolve to abandon all for heaven is being strengthened with each loss I experience).

However, one thing I know, I want to have the same heart as Paul in his statement in Philippians 3:13-14.  I will now speak this verse out loud in first person:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Yes!  I have answered the call from God to be heavenward in Christ Jesus, and as I move forward I have  learned that resilience is a by-product of obeying this heavenward call because first comes the motivation for heaven, and resilience will follow.

How about you? How has God interrupted your plans to teach you faith and give you a longing for heaven?  (scroll down to the bottom of this page to enter your comment).]]>

9 thoughts on “Resilience Part 3: Focusing on Heaven”

  1.  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
    8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
    9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
    10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
    11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
    12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

      1. In posting those verses, not sure about the timing. I think I posted it the night before. I will remove for another time if you choose.

  2. Sending love over the wires to you my dear friend. You have experienced so much loss in such a short amount of time; the lessons and sharing about these experiences is healing to those of us who read your posts. <3

  3. Thank you for keeping me included in your blog updates. Life has a funny way of leading us where we never planned on going. Lately, I have had many run in’s with fate. Too many things have happened that some would say are a coincidence, I say it’s fate. God bless and love you

  4. Hi Diane; sorry for you losses. Being 64 yrs. old I have had my share of losses. My best friend from high school died in a car accident at age 33. This was my most painful loss. Losing Kevin Mains suddenly was and is a close second. Yes, I have lost both of my parents, grandparents, aunts uncles, etc. but losing the ones that died young and very unexpectedly hurt the most.
    Thank God that Kevin committed himself to bringing me back to Christ. After he passed away I was struggling in my new walk with Jesus.
    Last year I was losing faith and got very depressed. But I kept hearing Kevin’s voice in my mind and kept praying and begging God to give me more faith. God answered my prayers the last week in December. I finally realized that I couldn’t rely on my thinking (Satan was attacking and I didn’t know it) and I just had to surrender my life my will completely over to Jesus and believe. Ever since then I have been on a pink cloud and full of joy.
    Take care and I am so happy I found your blog. ( totally by accident.) love you.

    1. Wow. Steve. Thank you so much for sharing your losses with me. You have had many. The last time I saw you and Kevin Mains was when Kevin baptized you into Christ in November 2016. That was so special for me. What a victory night that was. I haven’t been back to OC since but when the right time comes to fly down I will look forward to seeing you and Colleen. I love you both so much.

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