Why Long for Heaven?
I often think that the whole “heaven” thing is just weird. Do you? I can’t imagine it. My life can get really busy and I have so much I still want to accomplish. The idea of sitting on a cloud and singing for a thousand years doesn’t exactly appeal to me. At times I find myself wondering if we’ve made the whole thing up. My feelings about heaven don’t mean I don’t believe in God and want to honor Him with my life. I just don’t really concern myself too much with the afterlife. I know my life sucks without God directing it, so I’ve submitted to His direction. But that’s all about my life. Not my afterlife.
In my daily devotions last week, there was a part in there about heaven. I felt a little guilty for my attitude, so I whispered a quick prayer. “God, please change my heart. It’s not that I don’t want to see YOU face to face, it’s just that I don’t understand why I should long to be there rather than working for You here.”
A few days later I heard a statement that struck me as strange. It was something like, “In heaven we will no longer need self-discipline.” Huh? No self-discipline? Well, that’s just sin. Isn’t it?
I thought about it for a while and realized – it’s true. As Christians, much of our energy and effort is taken up in self-discipline. We guard our hearts. We discipline our eyes (be careful little eyes what you see), we discipline our ears (be careful little ears what you hear), and we hold ourselves back from going places we don’t need to go (be careful little feet where you go). We fast, denying ourselves the pleasure of food or TV for a time in order to purify ourselves. We stop ourselves from pursuing inappropriate sexual relationships. We feed on God’s Word in order to keep our hearts and minds pure. We’re careful about what we say – not claiming defeat or negativity, not gossiping, encouraging one another. As Christians, we spend a big portion of our time disciplining our sinful nature and trying to rise above it. Hopefully we get so used to it that it becomes second nature to us. But nevertheless, we are in a battle every day – a battle against ourselves.
In heaven, there will be no need for self-discipline. We will be like God and our sinful desires will be gone. Whatever we desire, we can do or have. All our desires will be holy and pure. There will be no more restraining ourselves, holding ourselves back. We will just be able to BE.
And I told God I’d rather fight the battle against myself every single day in order to accomplish what I think He still has for me to do, than go to heaven and be with Him for eternity???
While there is still much that I want to accomplish in my lifetime and I have no desire to leave this earth at a young age, the peace and freedom God promises us in the afterlife are almost too much for me to comprehend. The joy of it blows me away.
I know that it’s a weird concept and very difficult to wrap our minds around. We cannot comprehend what we have not seen. And yet, that is the mystery of faith. We believe, even though we cannot see. We trust, even though our trust may be misplaced. We choose to follow this path and see where it takes us.
I am aware that it’s possible all this God stuff is made up. But I also know what He has done for me. I know the peace and joy He has given me. I remember that He parted the Red Sea, He raised the dead, He calmed the wind and the waves, He walked on water, and he healed me. This God I serve is worth facing my fears of foolishness. He is worth facing my doubts. He is worth giving up everything. And I look forward to the day I see Him face to face and feel the total peace and rest of no longer fighting against all the evil that my human soul is prone to pursue.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
by Robert Robinson and John Wyeth
…Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace…
Is there anything that makes you long for heaven?