Today, I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, and I felt a pang in my heart – an indescribable longing I hadn’t really experienced before.
I have seen people excited for the Kingdom to come, and I have read about Paul’s passion to be in the arms of Jesus, but never had I experienced a longing as intense as that, until today.
Back to the coffee shop. So, I was eating my cookie, reading C.S. Lewis (like I do), hanging out with Jesus, and reflecting on the really hard week I’d had – I was pushed around on more than one occasion, and it all revolved around my life because of Jesus. My heart was just overwhelmed with this desire for justice, and I began to cry because of how broken this world is and how much I just really want to rest with the Father but also how intensely I want to be able to usher in the truth and life of the Kingdom on earth. I finally understand what Paul meant when he wrote:
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.” (Philippians 1:21-26)
So, I’m sitting in this little shop, crying because I just finally have understood how significant Home is. How significant it is to bring Home here. We are strangers in a strange land, ambassadors for Christ, charged with the responsibility of bringing Kingdom on earth – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” – sound familiar? That’s what we get to help usher in!
And I’m so torn because all of me wants justice to come, Jesus to come, and set things right, but to the same degree of intensity of longing, I want those lost in darkness, the oppressors and those whom justice would bring greatest grief to, I want them to walk in freedom with Jesus. And I’m so alive in this tension – this crazy balance I’m trying to walk in – because all of this just makes me more excited for Heaven!
It’s the weirdest thing because, literally last week, I was sitting in this place of uncertainty and fear as related to Heaven, and all it took was one encounter with the world and one encounter with Jesus to recognize how much wonder and glory lies in the Kingdom. But, as I continue processing the extensiveness of this great weight of glory, I find myself in a place of overwhelming joy but also in intense grief – because my heart so desires for things to be set right.
I want to clarify, though – I don’t want to die, that’s not what I’m getting at. I want Jesus – more and more of Him, and my heart aches for the eternal to be recognized and for people to encounter Him.
I physically ache to see this Kingdom come on earth. My breath is a little bit heavier with this weight of realization – this weight of knowing truth and knowing how few people enter through the narrow gate. It breaks my heart – it really, truly does.
Because, not only do I want to be in the presence of Jesus, I want everyone to be there with me.
God is waiting to bring this justice in its fullness because of this.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (2 Peter 3:9)
He’s not prolonging His return to allow more evil – He’s waiting because He so badly wants all of the prodigals to come home – He so, so badly wants all people to be adopted into His family because spending eternity with them is what He died for – He loves each one of us that much.
This wrecks me! It’s completely and totally insane that a God so good and holy could possibly want someone like me, but He does! And He wants you too – because for the longest time I thought grace was for everyone but me, but it really is for everyone and me. This totally and completely destroys my religion, all my lofty ideas and “sophisticated” thoughts about God, and forces me to come face to face with the greatest, most sacrificial, love relationship that could ever be conceived.
It’s times like these when I wish words to describe the intensity of this wonder and glory actually existed, but they just don’t.
There is a weightiness that is so great in this regard, God’s glory transcending our shortcomings and inconsistencies to engage in creating something so great, it is indescribable.
It’s so important that we gain a greater perspective on what Heaven really is (the Bible Project podcast is blessing me so much). Because we have so, so many wonderful things to look forward to in eternity, and we have been given the opportunity to usher in some of those eternal things now because the Kingdom is now and not yet.
But guys, I am so excited for the day when we all get to be with Jesus – it will be fantastic.
And this is the hope that we hold:
“‘See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:17-25)
Go forward in confident joy because we have every reason to be full of hope.