…they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).
I just watched the most touching video of a former U.S. President and his wife welcoming home America’s heroes. As these valiant men and women emerged from the jet way to the cheers of their appreciative fellow citizens, their faces registered various degrees of surprise and humility to realize that a former Commander-in-Chief stood among the crowd, waiting to express his gratitude. It’s impossible to view that recorded scene and not be moved to tears.
And yet…have you considered the scene in heaven when heroes of the faith—not just the blessed martyrs but all of us who consider ourselves strangers and pilgrims here on earth—finally step forth from that “jet way” that transports us from our temporal existence to our eternal one, only to see the Father waiting to greet us? I don’t know about you, but because I know me so well, I don’t feel like much of a hero most of the time. But because my true Hero has already gone before me, paying an unthinkable price so that I might one day make that grand entrance into heaven, I too can anticipate a hero’s welcome when I breathe my last and am set free from the tenuous strings that bind me to earth. Oh, how we will soar when that final string is severed and we are loosed into the eternal joys of being in the Father’s presence! Our greatest joy on earth can’t begin to compare to that eternal burst of gratitude that will carry us into God’s presence.
The next time you have an opportunity to welcome home some returning heroes, rejoice that you can be a part of it and shout your gratitude from the rooftops—but know that the joy you feel at that moment doesn’t begin to compare to that which will envelop you when you yourself are at last welcomed home as a hero of the faith!
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