Tickets to Paradise

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

If you are like me at all, as someone who seeks to follow Jesus you sometimes feel as if you are caught between two worlds. In reality we are! We can easily look back over our lives and recount memories, good or not so good while at the same time we can by faith look forward to a glorious future that awaits us and how things are going to be one day. As I was praying and thanking God for blessing my life in ways that are too innumerable to count an old memory came to my mind seemingly out of nowhere. The year was 1978, I had just graduated from high school and was working full time to pay for my brand new 1978 Chevy Camaro Z28 with a sound system so loud my dog could hear me coming home from about 1/2 a mile away. I remember driving down the road with the wind in my hair because I had my cars t-tops off when a song came on the radio titled, “Two Tickets To Paradise” by recording artist Eddie Money. It was an instant hit.

I wasn’t even a Christian when the song first came out and yet I can distinctly recall thinking about heaven as the song played. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to die, I’m not ready to pack my bags and leave tonight.” To be perfectly honest with you I don’t particularly want to die today either, I’m not ready to pack my bags so to speak and leave tonight. I still have more living I want to do this side of heaven, I believe there is more work still for me to do. Yet, here is the difference between today and 1978. I understand a little more about the love of God for me. Back then, I was afraid to die because I wasn’t ready spiritually. I knew there were things out of order in my life and I wanted more time you might say, “to clean up my act.” Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it was my job to get prepared for heaven.

It wasn’t until a number of years after I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord that my fear of death was replaced with the hope of heaven. You see, loved one, it wasn’t until I began to understand that there was nothing I could do about being ready for heaven other than to believe in Jesus Christ and to trust Him for my salvation which is a gift from God Himself. Thats what John 3:16 is all about. I have deserved to go to hell since the day I was born and nothings changed. Even if I had lived a perfect life since receiving Jesus as my Savior (which I have not) I would still be guilty of sinning against God and the wages of sin the Bible says is still death. Only Jesus perfect sacrifice makes heaven possible.

Being ready for heaven isn’t about getting our lives straightened before Jesus comes because if the truth be known, all these years later my life is still not worked out. I'm betting you could say the same thing too. Like you, I'm just a work in progress. What happened along the way of my own life that took my fear of dying away is I finally began to understand I have a ticket to paradise based on nothing that I have ever done but everything that Jesus Christ has done for me and for you. Like every ticket holder, we are saved by God’s grace through faith and not of works which any man can boast, it is the gift of God. Like you, I don’t know what the future holds but I do know who holds my future and that's what comforts me today as I pray it does you.

So, instead of letting fear grip my heart today thinking about death and dying, I am instead thinking about the words to a song that overwhelm my heart every time I hear it played as it reminds me that God loves me, and that your place and mine in heaven is secure because Jesus purchased our ticket. The song leaves me thinking, “Who Am I”

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth

Would care to know my name

Would care to feel my hurt?

Who am I, that the bright and morning star

Would choose to light the way

For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am

But because of what you've done

Not because of what I've done

But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading

Here today and gone tomorrow

A wave tossed in the ocean

A vapor in the wind

Still you hear me when I'm calling

Lord, you catch me when I'm falling

And you've told me who I am

I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin

Would look on me with love

And watch me rise again?

Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea

Would call out through the rain

And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am

But because of what you've done…

Yes, loved one, we have a ticket to paradise awaiting us because of Jesus and what He did for us on Calvary’s Cross by dying so we could live. Don’t worry about your life and how you might meet Him one day. Live each day longing to hear the words, “well done good and faithful servant” when you do! Live with your bags packed so to speak staying ready for the day when you see Jesus face to face.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:10


Michael Osthimer




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