I remember our first trip to the Smoky Mountains. We researched get away cabins that we could share with our friends the Neudahls, and then studied about the places where we could hike, eat, and visit. But our temporary vacation home was really at the center of all our plans. It had to be large enough two accommodate two couples, remote enough to give us a sense of living in the beautiful mountains and also close enough to access other nearby attractions. The closer we got to our vacation time, the more we longed to enjoy it.
I wonder, do you long for heaven like you long for a vacation or future home move across country? I remember one distinct day when there were two ladies in the nursing unit of the care facility where I worked. One’s body was failing quickly but she was clinging to stay alive. The other was longing for heaven but her body would not surrender. Odd isn’t it, how some long for one thing and others long for another. Typically, the deeper our trials on earth, the more we long for heaven. The more comfortable and content we are with our plot in life, the likely we are to aspire to remain here.
We all seek happiness in life. Why are we not always so eager to long for the even greater happiness we will experience in heaven? And where do we get our views of heaven? Do those views bring you to fear death or look forward to it as the step into the next and greatest adventure? Do you perceive heaven as an unending and boring church service? Is it more than sitting on clouds and playing harps? Will it be a peaceful yet purposeless existence or will it be filled with great celebration and endless rejoicing?
God made us to desire both life and heaven. And we will more fully enjoy each if we look at both life here and in heaven through God’s eyes. JC Ryle said, “I pity the man who does not think (accurately) about heaven.” For inaccurate thinking leads us to fanciful conclusions that have no bearing with reality. Yet when you consider the number of books on living life and the number on heaven, you quickly see where the disparity lies. How many times do you think about heaven in your daily life, as if it were the main thing that guides your life? How much do you hear about heaven in your own church? Perhaps we don’t much long for heaven because it just isn’t on our radar screen. It seems that most Americans believe in heaven, but are willing to let what they believe about heaven to be influenced by the media. What would happen if we let scripture guide us in understanding what we might about heaven? Instead of being the last thing in our thoughts and plans, what if it were the first? If we don’t think about heaven as our permanent home, then surely by default, this earthly existence will demand all our attention and passions! Can you imagine us spending thousand of dollars renovating that temporary cabin the mountains just for a one week stay? Ridiculous, you’d say. But then why on earth do we spend so much of our resources on this temporary earthly home, instead of preparing and longing for our permanent home in heaven?
We live in a world of spiritual blindness, too often ignorant and oblivious to our spiritual and heavenly reality. Our naturalistic assumptions are symptoms of this blindness. But where as “the god of this world has blinded the minds of believers so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) God has bound the mind of the mind blinding deceiver. If only we would turn to him for the truth on this matter!
Have you been so blinded by the shiny things of earth that you’ve lost theo desire for your true heavenly home? I invite you to step out in faith and pray at least once each day for God to increase your desire to spend time with him – on earth as it will be in heaven.