I believe that God is preparing for us an eternal dwelling place that will be so magnificent that He could not allow us to imagine such glory here in this world lest the focus of our desire be on the place of heaven rather than the presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The hope of heaven is not that we will finally be free of all sorrow and pain that we have endured in this life, but rather to see with the eyes of our heart the Calvary where Jesus took the scourge of pain and death from us and exchanged it for His righteousness. The hope of heaven is Christ Himself. He made it possible for us to escape eternal separation from God so that we will someday eat from the tree of life. Indeed, we do eat of that tree, which is Jesus . He is the First fruit of His Father, He is the Door to the Father, He is Living Water, the Bread of Life and He calls us NOW to “Taste and see that He is good.” (Ps. 34:8a)
Yet, we are “soul-journers” in a dry and desert place. We thirst for what we do not have and we chase away the things we do not want because they cause us pain. Read the sign. It says, “Pain and sorrow are not welcome here”. It is written on the faces of all humanity. But none of us escape it. What encouragement we find in Scripture where we read, “These light and temporary trials are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18). If only we believed it. Then we would realize that though we are hungry, that hunger is good because it points us to Christ who wants us to enjoy the bounty of His table. Right now, in the midst of our suffering.
Loneliness has become my winter friend. During the cold and dark months I often try to escape the clutches of that beast that threatens to take me to a dark and dreary place; bitter, unforgiving and desolate. Normally, I despise loneliness. I hate how it makes me feel. Recently, I had an encounter with loneliness and decided to stop fighting it. I began to pay attention to my emotions; when my feelings of loneliness were particularly strong. One evening I was alone in my house, thinking about the difficulties of this life. I decided to put on some music about heaven, knowing the hearing of it would act as a balm to soothe my weary soul. Minutes into my music, I found myself feeling overwhelmed; despairing over the aloneness of my heart! So I turned up the music and sang at the top of my lungs, tears streaming down my face. I felt anger over the loneliness but I was also aware of the intense feeling of joy! That’s when Jesus spoke peace to my waiting heart. I began to laugh because of this beautiful gift He had given me. This is what He wanted me to know: Loneliness is not the enemy. My loneliness is for Jesus! My loneliness is a good gift from the only One who can truly satisfy that need of my heart. So, I can invite my winter friend into all the seasons of my life because my loneliness is but a reminder to me of my unquenchable desire for heaven where merely seeing Jesus face-to-face will end all feelings of loneliness forever. Come, Lord Jesus. Come!