Heaven isn’t a consolation prize for living a hard life; it’s better and different than anything we have ever experienced.
When we started talking about heaven, the first thought that came to my mind was, “If Jesus comes back before I get married, I’m going to be so mad.”
Of course, this is ridiculous, but it’s still what my flesh is clinging to. I have this false image that if I don’t get married in this lifetime, I’ll be lacking something for eternity, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When healthy, marriage is beautiful because it’s a picture of the gospel. It’s a model of Christ’s incredible love for the church and me. The image we have of a “picture-perfect marriage,” of contentment and joy and fulfillment in another person, are all things that can only truly be found in Christ. The beauty of marriage is like a sketch of the Sistine Chapel; amazing, but nowhere near as incredible as witnessing the real thing. No one will be in Heaven wishing they had just been able to fulfill their lifelong desires on Earth. All of those will pale in comparison to the contentment and joy and fulfillment we will feel sitting at the feet of Jesus—we won’t need anything to satisfy us or hold us over. Nothing and no one will compare to the absolute fullness we will experience being fully present in the love of the Father.
But it isn’t just relationships—ALL the things we long for will be fulfilled.
We often think heaven will be incredible because we have heard people say that we will see family members that we miss, we’ll enjoy incredible food, and all the things our flesh wants will be fulfilled.
But the truth is, for the first time, we will truly be free of what it means to want. None of those things will matter. No more striving. No more desire. The need for more. Everything will pale in comparison to what it looks like to be sitting at the feet of Jesus. It’s not as if we are moving up a step or getting promoted to something better. It is something radically beautiful, incomprehensible to what we have seen and known.
Heaven isn’t the consolation prize—It’s better than anything we have ever seen, known, heard, or experienced. It’s what we should be working toward and longing for with bated breath.
After thinking about these things, the cynic in me pops up. If I genuinely believe heaven will be as incredible and fulfilling as Christ says it is, why am I going through so much pain right now? Even Paul wrote that “dying is… better” and that he “longed to go and be with Christ.” The flesh side of me cried out; what’s the point? After talking so much about the beauty and amazement of the other side, what's the point in being stuck here in the “before?”
Through praying and journaling, two things came up:
1. I had to choose to believe God doesn’t do anything out of spite or to be mean. He is constantly molding me, teaching me, and using the pain for His good.
2. I won’t be here a second longer than I need to be. I am here with a purpose—to glorify God and to share His word. If I am still here, I MUST still have work to do. He is not wasting any of it. Not an ounce of pain or hurt.
Psalm 56:8 states:
“you keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”
If God truly loves me and wants to be with me—and if he knows each tear I have cried, every ounce of pain I have felt and chooses to leave me here—then it must be for a good and beautiful purpose.
He loves me enough to use, trust, and empower me to do His work. This life is a race; hard, exhausting, and sometimes I feel like giving up. But at the end of this race is an eternity of peace. No more sorrow, No more longing. No more striving. No more stress. Just peace. Just Jesus.
That’s worth fighting for.
That’s worth running toward with reckless abandon.
That’s worth giving myself away for.
That’s worth shouting from the rooftops.