Some call this life the “Title and cover page” of the real story that is yet to be lived.
Some call this life the “dress rehearsal” for heaven.
These are indications that this life is not all there is. There is more than just the 60-100 years that a person lives on earth.
If this all there was, I would think that we could – and should – do just about anything we wanted since there would be no consequences to our actions.
But this life is not all there is.
The Bible says that God “has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I take that to mean that we were created to live forever. Yet, since sin entered the picture through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our bodies break down as we age and we will eventually die.
But there is still such a thing as “eternity.” Pastor Rick Warren (as well as others) says that there are many choices as to where we can live in this life but only two choices where we will live in eternity. Those choices are heaven or hell. In this life we choose where we will live in eternity by our actions, our beliefs, and our love. If we love God and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we’ll live in that love. It will shape our actions and very life. If we choose to disregard God and reject Jesus Christ, we will live accordingly in this life and will also be choosing to spend eternity separated from God.
Narnia author C.S. Lewis puts this thought more succinctly when he says, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”
I would call this life on earth, then, the “staging area” for eternity. “Staging area” reminds me of great adventures, and I want to live this life as an adventure that prepares me for the Great Adventure of living intimately with God in heaven. This life is the training for the Great Adventure. But the training is also an adventure! The people I train with become my band of brothers and sisters. I’m learning skills that will serve me well in my adventures. There are emotional extremes and adrenalin rushes. There are blessed down-times of rest and skin-tingling anticipations of action. There are the moments when I don’t think I can make it and will have to “drop out.” But that is usually when a brother or sister stoops down to help me up and trains along side of me for a time.
I wouldn’t want to live in this staging area forever. Thankfully, I won’t. The time will come when we’ll get the word “go” and load up then get the green light and jump into eternity.
And the Great Adventure will then begin!