Is there any parent among us who has not heard those words? My father’s customary answer to that question was “With every turn of the wheel, we’re a turn of the wheel closer.” As I recall, even as a six or seven year old, I understood that my dad was telling me to just sit back and be patient for another ten or fifteen minutes. Then it was time to ask once more, “Are we there yet?” only to hear the response, “With every turn of the wheel, we’re a turn of the wheel closer.”
That is the way it is in our journey to heaven. Sometimes I feel like the trip there is never going to end and with eager anticipation find myself praying, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” But “With every turn of the wheel, we are a turn of the wheel closer.” Whatever the day brings, we are getting closer to our destination. Every turn of the wheel brings us closer to the time when “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
I long for the day when faith becomes sight, but I am not there yet. I am reminded of Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The eager anticipation in Paul’s words is apparent. However, those same words indicate that Paul knew that if he ever stopped in his journey, if his “wheels quit turning”, he wasn’t going to get there.
It is imperative that we all keep in mind the truth that we have not yet taken hold of our ultimate ambition. Heaven is out there prepared for us, but like a runner who expends every ounce of energy pushing and straining for the finish line, we have got to keep on working.
Let’s all examine ourselves and make sure that we are still on course. Let’s make sure that the “wheels are still turning.” Is the person we see in the mirror someone who is honestly “reaching forward to what lies ahead?” Is that person who is looking back at us someone who is really “pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus?” Is our reflection in the mirror the reflection of someone who truly loves the brethren? Is it someone who visits the sick, makes calls of encouragement, refuses to gossip, and always gives the benefit of the doubt? That person looking back at us – is it someone who never misses a service that he or she is physically able to attend, who participates in all the works of the church that he or she can, and who looks for things to do in God’s service?
At the time of the Lord’s ascension into heaven, the Bible tells us that “two men in white clothing” stood beside the apostles. I believe it is obvious that these were angels. But more important than who they were is what they said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Does that thrill your heart? “Come, Lord Jesus!”