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A Boy’s Hope

I believe there is a heaven. One day, when I was a little boy in western North Carolina, I carved an inscription on one of the bricks of the old-fashioned chimney of my home. It read, “Heaven I hope to win.” I had been told at home and in the little country church and at Sunday school about a beautiful city. They had read Pilgrim’s Progress to me, and I had made up my mind to head heavenward.

Not long ago, I visited that old spot where the plain little house and the old chimney still stand. I searched for that inscription on the worn old brick, and to my delight I found it. Carved over half a century ago, most of it had been erased by the rains and the snows and the steady erosion of heat and cold. But I could still make out clearly two words—heaven and hope.

I, too, have stood the gales, the summers, the winters of all those years, but the ravages of life’s seasons have not removed the hope of heaven from my heart. It is imbedded there more securely than my boyish fingers ever carved it into that old brick. The infidels have blown their blast, and Bible critics even in pulpits and seminary chairs have tried to dim that hope. But it burns brighter than ever before.

When I wrote that inscription, most of my loved ones were living here. Now most of them have taken up their residence over there. But best of all, I have my Savior’s word about it: “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). That settles it. If it weren’t true, He would let us know. And on that rock I stand.

—Vance Havner