We can look just about anywhere in this world despite all of our modern additions, and you would be hard-pressed to not see something beautiful that God created. Maybe that seems too simplistic. “Duh, God made a beautiful world for us.” I get that. The beauty I am talking about comes with opening our eyes to the very nature of who we are, what we were created from, and how that impacts us and how we see ourselves. Our identity in Christ.
We are complex creatures. Everything that God has made is good and those of us who aren’t knocking on Darwin’s door for creational insight wouldn’t argue the facts that this world and how it all works together in nature without our intervention is a brilliant miracle.
Another thing those of us sealed in Christ won’t argue is the knowledge of where we are going.
God’s word says in Ephesians 1:13-14, “And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation—you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory.”
In every time of my life when I felt as if my trials were too hard, if I felt the loneliness was overwhelming, or if I felt defeated by my enemies, I needed only look to the word. The knowing that I am redeemed and I am God’s possession. How wonderful it is to know that a mighty Creator who can create anything and everything, wanted to have me too. That is truly something that brings my heart great joy even in the most trying times.
Having faith in the unseen is literally one of the the biggest jobs we have as believers. To know and trust that what God says he has done for us and where we will be when He comes back is the beginning of every faith journey.
So if we have faith, and the perfect assuredness of our final destination, why are we apprehensive?
We may not know much about Heaven and what God has planned for us there, but we know it will be a whole lot better than this cursed and broken planet that we live on now. (Genesis 3:17-18 “Cursed is the ground because of you.”) No pain, no suffering, and no separation from the one who made us.
Better is good, right?
In light of the many times when I feel ill-equipped to answer any questions about death and what happens after, this question came up and God poured into my spirit some truth of who we are, and I pray as you read you see another aspect of just how thoughtful and amazing our Creator is.
Why (if we know where we are going) do we want to stay here on earth?
The simple answer that we usually hear, (And I am guilty of feeling this way and using this as my answer too) is that our family and loved ones are here. God has given us human relationships that we have been placing our time investment into for however long we have been here so far. We love our kids, or our dog, our spouse, and our parents. There may be times when our selfish part speaks up and doesn’t want to leave all the nice things we have worked so hard for.
We worry about how others will survive without us, the impact and sadness that they will face at the loss. We wonder if we made a big enough impact with our lives. When faced with our own mortality the courage we normally have to face the world armored up quakes just a little and I can hear myself whisper, “Please God, just give me a little more time. I’m not ready to go.”
I would never want to leave my girls, nor my husband. I love my friends and family and pray that I get many many many years to be here to serve them, and others and share life and God and make a real impact on the world.
We want to stay here as long as we can. We have all eternity for heaven, right? We don’t need to go yet. What is 100 years here in comparison to eternity without the pain and suffering of this world? It seems like an easy choice. Let’s just get on the train and go now!
If we truly knew what heaven was like, we would be so much more ready to go. It begs the question that we are just scared because we just aren’t sure what is on the other side besides God. So maybe the reason that we don’t want to go is just based on our uncertainty of the unseen?
There was someone here, someone who came to this earth with the full knowledge of Heaven, of what it was to sit on the throne of God. To be in the presence of the Father. The full knowledge of all things resting inside His heart and mind. Our savior, Jesus. He was born of a virgin, fully God and fully man. Son of David, Son of Abraham, the world’s savior, here to experience this life on our planet so that maybe God could glean a little human understanding behind why it is so hard for us to follow simple instructions for staying right with him.
He experienced everything that holds us back. God allowed his son to experience all of the obstacles that we fail every day. Temptation, doubt, anger, loss, frustration, love, family, joy. All of the things that are not only important to us but also cause us to stumble. We can take joy in knowing, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus faced the same thing we do, the night before He gave his life for us. He faced the fear of death. Jesus knew where he was going. He had been there! He knew once this was all over, He would be back home with His father, seated at the right hand of God. His time on this broken earth over and no longer bound by our broken flesh but renewed and free. Guess what? Even with his knowledge of heaven, Jesus didn’t want to go either.
I know that what He had to face for us will not ever truly be something we can fathom until we stand in glory beside Him and hear Him recount the story of when He saved His people. And all of the world that is there with Him will be enthralled as He is victorious over death. But He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to face it. The list of reasons why are long.
I can’t imagine the fear in the heart of sweet Jesus that not only was he going to endure the punishment of death for the entire world of humanity that was, is, and had yet to even come, but he had developed those bonds of family, friends and His disciples. He wouldn’t want to leave them, right?
It isn’t that simple. I challenge you to take away from this, the deeper connection we have with our Creator and the deeper connection we have with His creation that he made just for us.
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. This is foundational for every Christian. The acknowledgment of intelligent design. Knowing that this complicated world, our bodies and the absolute insane amount of detail in our cells, how our body functions as a whole and right down to our very DNA.
God created this world for us.
Then after he made a perfect place, he created us.
“Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
The keyword in this verse is dust. He created us from the dust of the ground, the soil from our very planet.
What is the earth? Besides a giant ball of rock with a molton core that is spinning super fast and floating in space. It is our home. Read that again.
This is our home. We haven’t been able to go anywhere else (so far) and this is what we have always known. So internally, in our hearts and minds, we don’t want to die and leave because this is the only home we have ever known.
We belong here.
He created this earth for us, and he created us from it. Not only is this our home, but we have a biological connection to our planet. The earth is part of our very DNA. The connection we feel is more than just that of someone who is fond of somewhere and doesn’t want to leave. It is part of us, and part of who God created us to be.
Christ was made flesh and bone. Created from the same components as each of us. He was the human form of God himself, here to find out why we are so broken and why we are so hopeless. He knows us so well, and his mercy is unable to be compared to anything else.
When it came time for Jesus to be handed over, to suffer and die for us, and then to be reunited with the Father, even knowing this suffering was short and that Glory awaited, he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to take that cup of suffering, he didn’t want to leave the disciples or his mother Mary. He asked 3 times, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
I truly believe that Jesus felt that same connection that we feel to earth. We were made from it, made for it. Given a place to live that was created with the most masterful of hands.
And what did we do? Broke it.
The thing about breaking things is, it will never be exactly the same even if you put the pieces back together. Even with the veil broken, even with our redemption given freely by the acceptance of Christ, our world is still broken. The moment sin entered the picture the DNA of the earth itself changed.
Luckily we have a God who loves us and He has given us the ending to this story. So while many of us are not ready to go, and we want to stay here and enjoy what God has entrusted to us for our earthly lives, we don’t have to worry about what comes next. While it may be hard to say goodbye to loved ones when their journey ends on this earth, or when we face that time ourselves, we have hope that when Christ comes back, “Then I saw, a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” Revelation 21:1
God is going to give us something new, 2 Peter 3:10 tells us that, “The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and its works will be laid bare.”
This is so familiar to the refiner’s fire. God will take our earth, our home and he will run it through the fire. Nothing of this old world will remain. Once something is broken, it will never be the same. But God’s promise is that there will be a place for us, a new heaven and new earth. One that will be home. Whether this means we get a brand new planet, or whether it means he will renew and redeem the world we broke, I can’t say. I just rest in the word and the steadfast faith in Him, that I am sealed in Christ, and where He goes, I go. The place doesn’t matter. It only matters that we get to go with Him. What a glorious trip that will be!
For now, this is our home, the one we were made for, and until that time comes that He fulfills his promise, “We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13
Faith is a fruit of the spirit. It is the assuredness we have in His truth. No matter what, and no matter where, when this life is over, if you have given Christ your heart, and you are sealed in Him, you get to be with your Creator. I get to spend my now on this earth he made for me and my eternity wherever He will be, the one who formed me.
For me, that is enough.