The thought of heaven gave me mixed feelings for years. All that I had ever read in the Bible about what heaven is like led me to believe that it is never ending worship at the throne of God. I pictured in my mind bowing and singing constantly for the rest of…eternity…and deep inside my mind I thought: BORING.
My language as well always reflected my desire that eternity should come as late as possible. We would sing in certain songs in church “Come, Lord Jesus” and I would add my own commentary: “in 100 years, please”. I would always say that I wanted to get married and have a family and enjoy this life before eternity came, because surely I would be missing out if Jesus were to decide to come sooner than I wanted Him to come. I wanted to accomplish great things for God before I faced eternity. Surely that would give my life meaning.
Recently, however, I have started to notice a major difference in my heart. I have started to recognize an urgency and a deep desire to be with Christ forever in heaven. It’s not that I don’t desire to get married and have a family, but I have begun to recognize how the greatest joys on this earth don’t even cast a shadow to the joy of being with Christ. We grow up with the illusion that accomplishing our highest dreams is the ultimate rush. I grew up believing that obtaining the career for which I have been working would give me complete satisfaction, or that finding the one person to whom I want to dedicate my life would fill my heart. However, I realize now that I was very wrong. These things are great I’m sure. However, I am learning that there is a greater and deeper joy still.
Every day when I get up to spend time with God, I realize that my meager devotional time is not enough. So I spend more time during the day and before I go to bed. However, the more time I spend with God, the more I am aware of a depth of His presence that can never be obtained in this life. I might be passing through an incredibly difficult time, and all I want is to arrive as quickly as possible to my secret place with Him. My heart might be breaking, and all I desire is to cry in His presence. Never in my life have I experienced such healing and love. Everything might be going great, and I just want to share it with Jesus. I find that the most consistent and persistent prayer in my life is that I might be more like Christ. There is nothing that I want more. There is no dream fulfilled or earthly love that could even compare. I pray that eternity might come as quickly as possible. Then I would never have to leave His presence. All the joys of this life that I have wanted and desired have grown so dim in comparison to the deep desire of my heart to be with Jesus forever. The more time I spend with Him, the more I find that my heart reflects the attitude of constant worship. The more time I spend with Him, the more I can only imagine that the transition to eternal worship is not so drastic, nor is it that crazy or boring of an idea. It has begun to be my only desire.
Don’t get me wrong; I want to live. I want to reach the world for Christ. I want others to know the joy of a deep and rich relationship with God. However, that is the only reason that I would choose to stay here. What else could matter? I totally understand now the fight inside Paul’s heart when he said in Philippians 1:20-24: “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between the two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
So this becomes the purpose of my life here on earth: to call others to Christ and to draw them into His presence. It does no good for me to simply tell you what it is like to be in relationship with Christ; it is impossible to fully describe anyway. Come and experience it for yourselves! Believe me, you’ll never want to go back. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t truly known Christ. You have only known an idea about Him. The One and True Savior of your soul will never leave your heart empty nor will He leave an area of your life untouched. Don’t wait. Run to Him! Then come back and tell me all about it.