About six months ago, I did a series expressing some thoughts about heaven, but I must be honest, dear readers, I did not always look toward heaven as the desirable destination about which I wrote.
For much of life I simply had no interest in heaven. I figured I couldn’t know anything about it, really, so why bother thinking of it at all. I also did not consider it as pertinent to my present walk with the Lord, so I figured I ought not bother studying it. At one point, I even thought I would be bored there.
Looking back on my attitudes, however, I know that those reasons were smokescreens. The truth in my heart was far more convicting than the shallowness of youth. The truth is that I did not love God more than the world. I did not want to be with God, in the presence of God, communing directly with God if it was going to cost me the world.
I’d like to attribute this to youthful ignorance, but I feel that’s far too gracious. I know that worldly pleasures drew my attention: the sex thing, the possessions thing, the arts, the family, the middle class things. I simply valued all of these earthly goods as more glorious than God himself. I considered earth my true home and heaven a nice icing on the cake of existence.
And I had it all backwards. Even writing this post, I feel embarrassed. To view the earth and its pleasantries as more more valuable than God is to have no perception of God. A god that is not more attractive than the temporal pleasures of this material place is a small god, indeed (and certainly not the one I worship).
GOD, on the other hand, is someone else entirely. In light of who he is, this earth looks less attractive. If the choice is between God and a lifetime of self-indulgence, then I will refrain from everything I must in order to gain the former. This is GOD about whom I’m writing. GOD. The maker, the sustainer, the overseer of all life. GOD is so much bigger than this place with its present happiness and partial glory. He is the source of joy and the fullness of glory.
Still, I am looking toward experiences in this life with anticipation: eventually having a child (or more than one), watching and celebrating the success of those I love, and finishing my second novel. Toward all of these things I look with hope, but they pale in comparison to my longing toward heaven, toward seeing that Throne of Grace, toward kneeling my forehead on the ground before God and keeping it there for a million years of joyful crying and inexpressible peace and joy. Oh, how I pine for that day! I cannot imagine the satisfaction of seeing Jesus face to face–better is one day in his court.
That being said, if your mindset is as mine was for so much of my life, if you are enjoying the things of this world more than your are looking toward your reward with God, I encourage you to seek His face in the Scripture, speak to him through prayer, long for him through fasting. Cultivate daily communion with him. You will come to live your present existence in light of knowing he is near, and over time, you will get to a point wherein you say, “Oh Lord, this taste of your glory is SO GOOD, that I want nothing more than being nearer to you, as near as I can be, in your heavenly kingdom. Until that time, I savor you here and wait with great anticipation for you to bring me home.”
You can get there. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Of course, we all know that the Scriptures provide a wonderful picture of who God is. Below are a few passages that I’ve memorized to that effect, and they are merely the tip of a very large iceberg provided in the Holy Bible: