Heaven is won or lost on earth; the possession is there, but the preparation is here. (Richard Baxter)
Nancy and I anxiously awaited the birth of our second child. Finally, on December 23rd at three-thirty in the morning Nancy shook me and said, “It’s time to go!” After she finally got me awake I mumbled, “How do you know?” “My water broke … I’m having strong contractions and we have got to go now!” She didn’t need to say anything more.
We arrived at the hospital, went into the emergency room. A nurse met us, asked a few questions and then wheeled Nancy away. After changing into hospital clothes I was ushered into the delivery room where Doctor Parades and a team of nurses were preparing to deliver our son. I took my place by Nancy’s side. Doctor Parades was very kind and patiently gave instructions every time Nancy had a contraction. “Okay, on the next contraction, push hard! The doctor instructed. “Good girl … that’s it! He said. “The head is out! Okay rest a moment. We are almost there…!” Doctor Parades held the baby’s head in his hands and said, “All right one more push, Nancy, just one more push!” The contraction came, Nancy pushed and baby Issac, weighing nine pounds and fifteen ounces was born. We had been waiting for a long time for this moment to arrive.
God has been waiting for His dream of a “heaven on earth” to become a reality for centuries. “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22 NIV). The earth is very much pregnant with hope for a better world. Soon, much sooner than we think, Jesus will come back, completing the first phase of the birth process. Things will then happen quickly. The water will break and pain will increase, reaching violent proportions. The increase in war, violence, disease and the deterioration of morality today are signs or contractions—revealing that the time of the end is near. We should heed the warning. Trouble is coming on earth like none that has ever been. The New Testament Book of Revelation calls this The Great Tribulation.
“Look up to the heavens! Look around you at the earth below! The skies will disappear like clouds of smoke. The earth will become like worthless old clothes. The people on earth will die,but my salvation will continue forever. My goodness will never end” (Isaiah 51:6 ERV). “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Isaiah and Paul).