My youngest sister recently had her first real encounter with death. We had a cat put to sleep about two weeks ago. She was old, overweight, and her kidney was failing, so we just decided to have her put to sleep. My mom did not tell my younger sisters immediately because she didn’t want to cause them more grief than necessary. But a few nights ago, they asked where Missy (the cat) was, so she had to explain to them that Missy died. Both of my younger sisters cried and had a really hard time with it, but my youngest sister took it really hard. It hurt me so much to see her hurting. Honestly, I didn’t really have an attachment to this cat and didn’t grieve when I heard that she was put down, but my baby sister cried and got upset over the loss.
I came downstairs the next morning to find her sitting alone at the kitchen table writing. When I asked what she was writing, she handed me a piece of paper and told me that she was making a list of all the things she wanted to see and do in heaven. Here’s her list…
1. I want lots of butterflies to land on me.
2. I want to pet a lion, a gorilla, and a fawn.
3. I want to see God and Jesus.
4. I want to see lots of great angels.
It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever read; my precious sister wrote it from her heart. I sat down at the table and talked with her for a while, and explained to her that the greatest and most important thing about heaven was getting to spend eternity with our Savior. I don’t know how well she understood, but we got to talk for a while and spend some sweet time together.
Heaven was on my mind all day long, and I was reminded of a quote by John Piper.
If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?
What is your reaction?! Obviously a child still longs for the things of this world to be in heaven; things like butterflies, and the like, but this quote really convicts me. Do I truly desire heaven because Christ will be there and I will get to spend all of eternity dwelling with Him, or do I long for heaven because there will be no more pain, suffering or grief?
As I gave this question some serious thought, I sadly realized how often I live my life like the earth is my home. I get so comfortable here with my family, my friends and all of the other gifts that God gives me. I become satisfied with those things instead of striving to be satisfied with the One who gave me the gifts. I deeply need to realize that the Creator longs for me to be in His presence and that I break His heart when I run around on earth like I belong here. I need to understand that my home is with Him; I am just passing through this earth.
To be completely honest, I think I get caught up in this complacency because I’ve been trained to believe that heaven will be boring. That sounds horrible put into words, but I think that all of us would agree that when we think of heaven, a small part of us doesn’t want to go. I used to want Christ to wait to come back until I had the opportunity to get married, and raise a few children. After that, I thought He could come back. How wrong I was! My mindset was completely contradictory to the Bible. Heaven is where I get to spend eternity with my Beloved Jesus, and that in itself is more than enough. As I’ve grown in my relationship with God, He’s taught me that He truly is indeed better than anything the world could every hope to offer me and that eternity with Him will be grand and glorious and I should be longing for it with my whole being. There was definitely a time in my life where I didn’t want to go to heaven, but that has changed. Now, I can’t wait for the day when I’ll get to meet my Savior face-to-face and fall down before the throne of God and worship Him with the angels. I would be so thrilled if I was taken to heaven this evening. My whole being longs for heaven! We’ve been given a taste of heaven here on earth, I think everyone can feel it. When we watch a glorious sunset that leaves us wanting more, or see a baby being born and the innocence in the child, or spend time carrying on a deep and intimate conversation with a friend. Those things are so wonderful and dear to me, and as grand as they are, they never fully satisfy me. When I go outside at night and look the moon and the stars, my soul leaps within me and instead of being able to fully enjoy them, my soul pants for the creator of those stars. I’ll talk to God and tell Him how glorious He is to have created such amazing things, and how I long for more and more. Heaven will be a place where our joy is complete because we will be with Christ forever. Jonathan Edwards described heaved as “A place of unparalleled and indescribable joy.” I can’t wait for that day when I’ll have the high privilege of dwelling with the God who completely satisfies my soul with Himself.
Heaven is such a glorious topic to think about, but the reality of heaven should completely change how we live here on the earth, while we are in the process of “passing through”.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. –C.S. Lewis
This is immensely true! Those precious souls who knew the reality of heaven and lived in that reality were able to accomplish things that most people only dream about. I urge you to spend some time alone with your Beloved today and ask Him to change your perspective on heaven. Allow Him to morph you into a heaven-minded believer so that your journey on this earth will be filled with eager anticipation of the unending delight and joy that will be found in your Father on the day that you reach heaven. Don’t become ineffective or blind here on the earth, realize that this isn’t your home! As much as it can start to feel like a home, your real home is so much more glorious. Keep Jesus in focus as your soul longs to be with Him forevermore.
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever.