Not Just Heaven But God Himself

One of my Bible readings this week was from Philippians 1:19-26. In these verses,  Paul is deliberating which is better; to live, and therefore continue to share the gospel, or to die, which means to finally be with Christ.

When we think about those verses, I know that the “lesson” in them is two-fold. First, we are to look at this life not as a building up of treasures, but a chance to spread the gospel as far and wide as possible; to be sharing Jesus until the end. Second, we need to be looking at death not as the end to the wonderful things we’ve got going on here, but as the entry into that place where we will finally see Jesus and experience perfection. No more pain. No more tears.

It’s the second part that grabbed my heart. I may be confessing something that is true for  few others, maybe only true for me, which would be a little embarrassing I guess. But, I’m willing to take the chance.

When you long for Heaven, are you longing for that precious time when you’ll be able to see God face to face and to forever live in his direct presence? Or, are you like me, and when you long for Heaven, what you tend to long for is the peace Heaven will afford? I’m anxious for the day when there are no worries; nothing can hurt my children, no longer am I afraid for my country, and sickness isn’t looming in any of our bodies. I’m desperate to live in a place where there is no evil. (And no bugs or snakes would be much appreciated.)

All of that is well and good, and part of what Heaven will afford.

But what my heart is really longing for, even when I don’t realize it, is to be with God. I think about those other things because it’s what I struggle with here. Imagining a life without those worries is what makes this life more bearable. But if that’s all there was to Heaven, we’d be missing so much. A lack of bad is not the same as the presence of perfection. 

I wrote here about God’s desire for us to not just be committed to him, but to love him. I think this set of limited hopes for Heaven that I’ve been carrying around comes back to that same issue. The more I learn to love God the more my longing for Heaven will be a longing for Him, not just the peace and beauty he provides.

I don’t ever want to look at Heaven just as a place where there are no worries. I want to look at Heaven as a place where I get to be with God. <<Tweet That) 

From now on, when I find myself longing for Heaven because I’m tired of the hurts and worries of this world, I’m going to remind myself who is there. I’m going to imagine walking around in a new earth, with all the beauty imaginable yet no pain, no worries, no bugs–at least in my mansion anyway. But I won’t stop there. I’ll remember that it’s not just a beautiful place with overflowing gardens for me to walk in.  I’ll be walking those beautiful garden paths with Jesus; the precious savior who knows my name and is looking forward to coming back for me. 

Just thinking of that now makes me so excited for home, but also gives me more of a passion for this life.

God is amazing like that!


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image courtesy of Tom Curtis/