Raise your hand if you’re done with this whole life thing.
Raise your hand if you’re ready to be in the arms of your sweet Savior, away from the pain and suffering of this sinful and broken world. Raise your hand if you’re ready for a home where husbands don’t get shot, and 3 year olds aren’t taken out by tumors almost overnight, and friends don’t feel so alone that they take their own lives, and moms aren’t lying in hospital beds even now – destiny unknown.
Both hands up over here.
It’s been a wearying few months. I’m not sure if God’s just upped the amount of suffering around me, or if He’s just given me eyes to see, but either way. Seriously. Enough already.
Most of my community is feeling the same way. It comes up almost every time we hang out: a mutual desire to depart and be with Jesus for that is indeed – far better. We are people who are ready for a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
But, here’s the thing, I don’t want to just be someone who hungers for Heaven. I want to be someone who looks at this world and looks at Heaven and can say with Paul: “I am hard pressed between the two.”
Why did He want death?
Paul wanted to depart this broken world as bad as any of us. He thought it would be far better to be finally home. But not because it meant no more crying or no more pain, but because it meant Him getting Jesus.
Why did He want life?
Paul was not torn between life and death because he was like: I want to be with Jesus, but I also want to get married and have kids. I want to be with Jesus, but I also want to see my kids graduate from college. I want to be with Jesus, but I want to leave my mark on humanity first.
He wanted life because life to Him was Christ. It was about getting Jesus and giving Jesus glory.
Paul’s deepest joy was Christ being clearly seen, and however God wanted to make that happen, Paul was down. If it meant dying, what a deal! Cause then he would be able to hug Jesus. If it meant living, great. That would look more like prison and torture and stuff, but that was okay with Paul because he would get Jesus and give Jesus glory.
Why do you want death? Why do you want life?
Because I guess if we want them both for the right reasons, then we too will be hard pressed.
Some of us don’t want to die. We’re happy here. Gosh. Let us pray that God would show us the surpassing worth of Jesus and open our eyes to see that being with Him will be better than anything this world has to offer.
Some of us are hard pressed, but it’s because we know that Jesus is better and we want to be with Him, but we love the people and the life He has blessed us with. We fear for our kids if we leave. We want death for the right reasons, but do we define life the same way Paul did? Let us pray that we would rest our hearts in the truth that to live is Christ. Let us pray that the primary thing that would make this world look tempting when compared to resting with Jesus would be the thought of displaying the beauty of who He is to those around us.
Some of us long for death. It’s not a tough choice. We’re done.
Man. I’m praying that God would help us (me) want more than a world without pain or to be reunited with loved ones. I’m praying He would make us (me) want Jesus; Jesus bright and exalted. I’m praying we (I) would want that so much that I would be hard pressed between exalting Him in this life or hugging Him in the next.
May we trust our sovereign Lord that as long as we draw breath there is work to be done.
If the goal of our lives and the joy of our heart is giving and getting Jesus than we will be hard pressed between life and death. Because, after all, to live is Christ and to die is gain.