Thanks for our question for this week! The question was essentially:
How should we feel about life? As Christians, is it okay to want to die?
I totally get what was being asked here. The girl asking this question isn’t someone who is on the brink of suicide, but just someone who has realized this world is a pale shadow of the joy of eternity. She, like so many of us is a little tired of this life.
Sometimes our days here are filled with one trial after another and if we grasp the greatness and unity that we will have with Christ in Heaven, of course, we – like Paul – will say that departing to be with Christ is ‘better’.
Is it okay to long for heaven? Of course.
Of course God wants us longing for heaven, but I’m not sure His design is for that longing to be rooted in discontentment.
God wants us longing for Heaven, not because everything here is lame, but because even when this world offers us the best day, Heaven is better. God is glorified when we consider our wedding night or the birth of our first child, and in the face of the greatest joy this world has for us we say – ‘for me to depart to be with Christ is far better’.
The marker of Godly longing for Heaven would be that it frees us up to experience more joy in this life not less.
If your longing for heaven is based in anything other than joy, it might be misplaced. If your longing for Heaven makes you less engaged with this life, than it might be misplaced.
When we are longing for Heaven it will bring us more joy in this life, not less.
How we feel about this life will testify to our motives in longing for Heaven. If we really want Heaven because we want God’s glory, than we will be eager to stay on this earth seeking out His glory – even in the midst of our suffering. That pursuit of His glory would bring us joy in even the darkest of circumstances.
We have to be careful not to just ‘endure’ this life, but rather exploit it.
If we believe that God is sovereign over life and death, and if we believe that we are immortal until we die we must also believe that there is ‘necessity’ in our life today. We must believe that God has a purpose – His glory and our good – in mind in each breath we take.
Paul writes the letter I quoted earlier while he’s in prison. He is in the worst of circumstances. He longs to depart to be with Christ, but even in the darkest of times he says – it’s a hard choice between the two; it’s a hard choice between staying in this world and going to Heaven. Why? Because he gets such deep joy from being a part of preaching the gospel and ministering to the Church.
Does that describe your struggle?
The heart of a believer is one that can look at the greatest joy known to man and proclaim that death brings greater joy in the face of Christ. The heart of a believer is one that can look at the glory of Heaven and still desire to remain on this earth to be spent for God’s glory.