For most of human history since the time of the early church forward, Christians have lived hard enough lives they longed for their future home with the Lord. The last fifty years of American History has been one section of time that life has been so comfortable Christ followers have lost their appetite for the afterlife. We argue “eschatology” in the classroom but few have an internal hunger for deliverance from this life. It reminds me of something John Maxwell said one time. While pastoring a church in San Diego, Maxwell said the weather was so beautiful the congregation would ask, “When we die and go to heaven, could we come home on weekends?”
I heard Bill Hybels talking about Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech. He said, he had prepared the people for years with a message that said, “We cannot stay where we are, it isn’t acceptable,” before he could tell them what the preferred future was with “I have a dream”.
Maybe we are coming to a point in human history, globally where the Lord is preparing the world for the transition to the new heaven and new earth. Maybe He has to bring us to a place of saying life here isn’t acceptable, there has to be more to come. Maybe we have to come to a place where our heart’s desire and the songs we sing reflect a longing for a city whose builder and maker is God. “Swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home,” comes to mind. The true church has a sense this is not the best world, just the best possible way to the best world. God puts a longing in the heart for things to be right and a sense that will not be until He allows us to be with Him. We live in a large time of sifting, because the Lord is not willing that any should perish but all come to repentance.
So I finish by giving a scripture to ponder: Romans 8:18 and following. . .
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[a] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[b] for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)