“. . . I see the heavens opened up . . . and Jesus . . .” Acts 7:56
Sooner or later everyone goes through a season when life closes in upon them. The bills go up and income goes down. Demands of life increase and physical strength decreases. In times of need, friends disappear, circumstances seem as though they are working against you. There’s heaviness of opposition closing in on you at every turn. The doors of opportunity close, the lights on the horizon go out one by one.
Then suddenly the clouds part, the air clears, the heavens open, and we are brought face to face with the assurance that God is here, He is good and by His power we can do all things through Christ. In spite of obstacles and opposition, we are standing on solid ground. Hope fills the heart and we are ready to go on to face what lies ahead.
Something like that happened to Stephen. The vicious crowds were tracking him down the way predators hunt their prey. They were like a pack of wild animals ready to rush him and take the life out of him. These religious, prejudice, bigoted, and inflammable crowds were bashing and lashing out at him.
And then, the heavens opened and Stephen saw Jesus standing there. In the darkness he found the reassurance that love still reigns, God still cared, people still had a chance, and Jesus still came first. Knowing those things, nothing else mattered, and Stephen went the way of his Lord and finished his course.
It’s Jesus that helps us see our way clear. Whenever and wherever Jesus is remembered, it strengthens our slumping spirit. The recollection of Jesus keeps us peaceful when everyone else is frantic. He enables us to forgive when everyone else is vindictive. We pray while the whole world is in strife. We love when we are surrounded by hate. We trust when everything is against us. We keep hoping when all looks hopeless.
When life closes in on us, the best we can do is stand as close as possible to where heaven is opened. That place is where the presence of Jesus parts the clouds in two.
Spend some time remembering Jesus and let the strength of heaven open to you.