Beautiful Inheritance {A Secure Future}

In March 2017, Hope Moms from all across the country, and even from across the globe, gathered in Giddings, TX for the annual Hope Mommies Retreat.  Together, they spent the weekend sharing the stories of their precious babies, and finding that Christ can indeed comfort the brokenhearted, often through the hands and tears of another sufferer along the way. The theme of the 2017 retreat was “A Beautiful Inheritance.” In this mini series, Shannon Owen, recaps her messages from the retreat in order to give us a greater picture of the beautiful inheritance we have been given in Christ.

We can’t end this series without talking heaven.

It’s a strange thing to say that sorrow comes with a gift. And I hope that idea doesn’t come across as pithy or like something you’d see on one of those inspirational posters in a middle school counselor’s office or like one of those really bad sympathy cards with the pictures of clouds. But, when we experience grief in its many forms, it forces us to really think about what happens after death.

C.S. Lewis writes, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”

Whether heaven exists is no longer a theoretical question. Heaven isn’t just “the good place to go after you die” or a vague opposite of hell with some clouds and harps. Heaven is restoration. Heaven is our inheritance.

When we ask the question, “When will we receive our inheritance?” the answer is a little more complex than just “when we get to heaven.” You see, the answer is a big, theological idea with a really simple name: Already and Not Yet. Heaven is something to look forward to, but through Jesus and the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, we can pull the hope of heaven into our present.

Psalm 16:8-11 says, “I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.  For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.  You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”

In this Psalm, David is asking for deliverance from death. He has HOPE in an inheritance of life, of God Himself. (v.11)

Interestingly, this is the Psalm referenced by Peter at Antioch in Acts 2. When Peter quotes Psalm 16:9, he says, “My flesh will rest in HOPE.” If you notice, this is slightly different than the original “my body also rests securely.” But, Peter was speaking Greek, and was translating the Psalm from Hebrew. The Greek word “Elpis” means hope, which is a translation of the Hebrew word “betach,” which means “security, place of refuge, feeling of trust.” So, hope is a tangible thing. A thing you can have, and rest in. You can lay your head in hope, you can be at home in hope.

On the days when the grief just hurts, remember that our hope is anchored in heaven. We look up, and we remember eternity, renewal, light, life.

We have this hope because of Jesus Christ. Peter points out in Acts 2 that even as David cried out for deliverance from the wilderness, David did, eventually, die. But, Jesus, David’s descendant, resurrected from death. He conquered death.

Acts 2:24 says, “God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.”

Because of Jesus, we have a secure hope in our future in heaven. It’s the “not yet” that we hope for, that we cling to.

Revelation 21:5-7 says, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new… It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be His God and he will be my son.’”

Here’s the hope: our God is a restorer. He doesn’t just give you a replacement; He restores what we have lost.

One day, all will be new. All will be restored. Revelation 22:1-5 gives us a glimpse into what that heaven looks like.

Verses 1-2 say, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

Water typically represents refreshment and revival. It is the primary sustainer of life, even above food and shelter. Here, the water flows straight from the source—the throne of God pours a river straight through the middle of the city of heaven.

Then, there’s the tree. A symbol of growth and life, the tree grows on both sides of the river and drinks nourishment. This tree is not seasonal, and its fruit does not wither with the winter.

The passage continues: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

The source of the light is God Himself. Can you imagine it? No darkness. No night. No brokenness. No death. No death. No death.

Heaven is real. And, one day, we will be living in the land of life. We will be reunited with our loves and with our God.

We have so much to look forward to, but God has something for you now. Already.

It’s not grief and grief and that’s the end until we get to heaven. The kingdom of God is here and now. There is joy for you, there is hope for you to have right now.

Our friend Peter, who spoke the sermon in Acts, writes this in 1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrections of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

It is a living hope. We are given life—eternal life in heaven AND a life now. A life that’s full of joy when the world says we should not have joy. A life full of hope when the world says we should live in grief. A life of love outpouring when the world says our love has gone away.

Why? Because our hope is in the person of Christ, not in an idea.

Our inheritance is kept in heaven because that’s where it can remain whole, but we can access it now.

Grief is not your inheritance. It may be the thing we’ve got, the thing we have to wrestle with and carry. But, it is NOT what defines you.

Remember: Our inheritance is God Himself. To be born again literally means that we’ve changed families. We no longer inherit the curse of death, but the way of life.

If you believe in Jesus, you are part of His Kingdom and there is work to do. A part for you to play. So, live like there is something more to live for. Something beyond this life.

You have the gift of seeing that more clearly than others, so use your story. They may not understand what you’ve been through, but God willing, they will see God and see heaven through the story you have to tell.

Shannon Owen lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Lee, and their two girls, Avery (6) and Kate (2). In 2012, between her two girls, she miscarried a baby at 8 weeks due to an ectopic pregnancy; read more from Shannon about her Hope Baby hereShe taught high school English, but traded in her grammar textbooks for board books after Avery was born. However, words and stories are still very much a part of her life. 

During a lengthy NICU stay after her daughter Kate was born, Shannon dusted off her pen and started a blog to keep friends and family updated on Kate’s progress, but kept writing because it was catharsis. Kate was born with a congenital, non-progressive muscle and joint disorder as well as bilateral vocal cord paralysis, which causes a blockage in her airway.

Shannon also writes for Abide, an audio prayer app, and has had some of her reading plans featured on YouVersion. You can find her at

Shannon and her family are very involved in their church, Houston’s First Baptist. Shannon and Lee help teach high school juniors and seniors, and Shannon leads and teaches in the women’s ministry.

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