Friday, September 25, 2009

Heaven Can Wait

I was just thinking about all the reasons we crave "things" on this earth. I know there are blatantly sinful reasons why - like greed, insecurity, fear of man, etc. I think, though, that there is another not so obvious reason, one that begins well and ends terribly. That is, our desire for The Blessor turns into a desire for the blessing.

For a very long time, I've wanted a huge piece of land and a big, white house with green shutters. Actually, this has been my dream since childhood. It's the impossible dream for me. It's always out of reach, just beyond my grasp.

The other day, my husband and I went to look at a piece of property that I've been eyeing for quite awhile. Mind you, we have no way of buying this piece of property. It's not even in the town where we live.
As I was walking around this piece of property with my husband, kids and the dog, I was so very happy. The land was beautiful. There were plants and trees and flowers of all kinds, bugs were humming, birds were singing. A slight breeze rustled the leaves and grass, making music for accompaniment. I smelled the smell of a dozen childhood summers around me -- of grass, dirt and flowers combined with heat and Southern air. We walked to the edge of the land to a gently flowing creek bordered on one side by a lovely little beach and by majestic (by Louisiana standards) bluffs on the other.
My children were playing, laughing and splashing in the creek. Our dog was running through the creek enjoying the cool water. It was almost like, well, like heaven.
Ah yes, that's it then. That place, and the white house in my mind, is my own version of Heaven. It's as close as I can get in my earthly mind to imagining pure happiness and joy. When I think of the "new heaven and the new earth", that's where I imagine myself living -- in a place just like that.

And so I want it. It's where I go in my mind when things aren't going well during the day. I escape to my own small dream of Heaven.
Problem is, maybe if I got that place, maybe I wouldn't want Heaven so much. Maybe I would be content with my own very small version of Heaven. It's hard to say. God says He sets eternity in the hearts of men. Certainly, any Christian who has matured at all longs for Home, but we cannot see the scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I think maybe we settle or strive for cheap imitations of eternity.

I think maybe a large part of our sanctification, or setting apart, is God wrenching from our hands the ordinary things here we would call Heaven. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
Perhaps our desire for Heaven starts as a true chasing after God and a desire for all that He is. Then, because we can only "see in a mirror dimly", we grow impatient and begin grasping for the things we can touch and see and smell and taste. We try to put our hands on Heaven here on earth, and it simply cannot be done.

Our God is a jealous God. He is away for now. Will we run after other lovers while He is away? How is it that we are unfaithful to a God who's given us everything, even life itself?

We MUST NOT attempt to satisfy ourselves with some premature, human version of Heaven. It IS NOT God and it WILL NOT stand. We must continually manage His affairs and we must continually shade our eyes with our hands as we look in the distance for His return.

God, our Heaven, is coming back. I would be really embarrassed if He found me dancing with a gold cow (aka a beautiful piece of property with a big, white house) when He gets here.

Father, make my dreams Your dreams. Sanctify me, no matter how painful. Help me to not be carried away by the beautiful things of this world. Nothing compares
to You. Forgive my infidelity. Make me faithful and true. Satisfy me with Your
love. Amen.


~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Lord, thank You for using Jennifer to remind us of our selfish desires for Heaven. I pray for patience knowing that You will meet our needs. In Jesus' name, amen.

Mainly a midwife said...

Well said.

ISO (In search of) said...

I didn't know you were still keeping this one up! Oh what I've been missing!! You are so right about us trying to create our own heavens on earth. We have a very clever God though. We always want more. And those of us who know him know that "More" will never be satiated until we reach the arms of our heavenly Father. I thank God for that.