Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lord I want to go to heaven.... but I don't want to go tonight....

The title of this post comes from a Joe Diffie song called "Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die" - I think that it is pretty emblematic of a number of Christians that I know, and frankly, of myself on frequent occasions.

This morning I read the following article in Relevant magazine:

in which the author offers up an opinion piece about what it means to really be a Christian and look to heaven as our daily destination - rather than a place we'll go once we "reach our earthly goals."

This article really resonates with me, because so many of my friends have said things to me like "Well, I really want Jesus to come back - but I want it to be after I get married (read: have sex) and have kids." And my internal response to this comment (ok, sometimes my external response, too) is always, "Really?!?!"

I think that this shows how little we really think or know about what it will be like to be in heaven, or on earth for that matter. We completely underestimate the grace of God on earth and the presence of God in heaven.

In "The Four Loves" C.S. Lewis says "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

When I first read the quote above, it really struck me how little I had been letting God infuse my day to day life. (I often still live this way, mud pies and all) And as I grew in Christ, I was continually reminded through scripture and prayer and experience, how much better heaven is and will be than this earthly coil.

As I experience my friends' marriages and learn about their struggles, I see that heaven will be a LOT better. (even better than the best marriages) As I play with my friends' children and enjoy their presence, I see the heaven will be a LOT better. Heaven will even be better than the feeling I get when my dog rushes to greet me when I come home.

I mean a LOT better.

But when we are living here on this planet, its really hard to remember that day in and day out. We get sort of coated with the reality of earth, lulled - like Dorothy in a sea of poppies - into thinking that the best of earth is the best there is anywhere. I think this is one of the devil's best tricks. If we can be convinced that the best there is is the best there is on earth, we will turn our heads aside from heaven, and ultimately God, and be satisfied with the mud pies.

My friend Karen always says that its like we are drinking glasses of toilet water when the freshest, coldest waterfall is right next to us just waiting to fill our glasses.

So for 2011, my prayer for me and for you, friend, is that we would enjoy what we have on earth, but only in the context of what we will have in heaven. That we will look expectantly toward God's coming with joy and not live in fear that God will return "before I have sex" or "before I get pregnant" or "before Baylor wins the Women's NCAA tourney" whenever any of those things may be. May instead we pray with the disciple: Come quickly Lord Jesus and do not tarry.