Monday, July 6, 2015

Yearning for Heaven

It’s 7:00 a.m., and your alarm is shrilling that terrible dissonant sound. You slap it off in irritation and roll out of bed.  You pretty much sleep through your shower, but somehow manage to finish, grab an apple, and run out the door.  On the way to work someone cuts you off at a one-lane squeeze.  You get to work, plop down at your desk, and read an email with bad news before you’ve even filled your coffee cup.  You glance at the clock in the office and it reads 8:07 a.m.  You’ve only been at work 7 minutes.  Seriously?  You put your face in your hands and think this is a very good time to visit your “happy place”.

I am in a huge meadow that has no borders.  The color is a so green that it takes my breath away.  I’m barefoot and walking slowly through soft, cool grass.  The air smells like lavender.  I lift my face to the sky and feel the breeze lift my hair.

You’re not thinking about why, but you know that this fantasy taps into something deep within you; something on the soul level.  You don’t just desire to be in this meadow, you realize you’re actually yearning to be there.  Almost like you’d give anything at that moment to experience it…..
The Apostle Paul describes this longing in 2 Corinthians 5:2
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. 

God has set into every human heart the desire for the pleasure and peace that Heaven provides.  We groan for what we do not have here.  When we have the experience of small glimpses of Heaven here on earth, it’s like the little tumblers in our soul suddenly all click into place, and everything is right--almost perfect even.  

We know perfection is in our future, but very often as Christians we get impatient.  We begin to warp our longing for Heaven by building and nurturing our own false, temporary heaven here and now. We turn to physical pleasures, material possessions, or relationships, in an attempt to squelch our yearning.  Sometimes we take our God-given longing for Heaven and say, “but I want it now!” 

In Scripture the earth is compared to a woman in the throes of childbirth: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Rom 8:22)  And then we’re told to wait patiently for it, because who hopes for what he already has? (v24)  If we spend our energies creating heaven here and now, where is our hope?  Like the woman in labor who forgets her pain when she sees her child, so will we forget our present sufferings on that glorious day. 

~ Kristin VanZanten 

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