Read Revelation 7:1-17
I have often been asked, “If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?” Now, sure there are decisions I have made that I would absolutely take back. There are even some experiences that I’ve been through that I would rather not have endured. There are things that I said, things that I thought, things that I did that I would definitely take back if I could.
However, all those things that I did, all those trials I have been through, have made me into the person that I am today. If it weren’t for the low points in my life, I wouldn’t be as strong, spiritually, as I am today. I am positive that some of you can relate and have had a lot worse experiences than I have, but we can all agree that those experiences, whether good or bad, have made us into the people we are today.
In Revelation 7, John gives an account of the interlude in Heaven (this is just before Pastor Nick’s “halftime” in chapters 10-11) which includes the sealing of the 144,000. After that, John describes a massive amount of people coming forth, of which no one could count, all wearing white robes and praising God (v. 10). An elder approaches John and asks if he knows who these people are and where they have come from. The elder answers his own question when he says they are the ones who endured the Tribulation and in the process have given their lives to Jesus.
Imagine what these people have just been through. They have just experienced the worst period of the entire history of the world and, after all of that, they are praising God! They recognized that what they went through was so that they could prove faithful and get to the point of celebrating in the throne room of God.
In reaching out to people of all walks of life, it is important to get them to understand that their past mistakes have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus but have also made them who they are. The trials that we all go through in life make Heaven that much sweeter. We realize that, through it all, God was with us and His plan was for us to end up in the throne room praising Him!
I encourage you, when you look at your past, remember that that isn’t who you are. Your identity is anew and that who you were and what you did, was used by the Lord to mold and shape you into the person you are today.