The fight for hope comes with a fight for understanding heaven. But a necessary heaven seems elementary, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s the conversation that “saved” most of us. We wanted to go to heaven instead of hell, so we raised our hand or said a prayer and heaven became our prize.
Or so we thought. Because, in all reality, God was acting on our behalf all along. That’s His nature. He wants us desperately and so He draws us to Him. Hallelujah.
But somewhere between Sunday school and adulthood, heaven becomes less of a prize to our hardening hearts. Instead we begin to buy into the lies that the world feeds us. That success. Yes, success coupled with heaven is our prize. So we chase it like mad, believing with every microscopic fiber of our being that we should have both.
Our maybe it’s not success that you and I started chasing, maybe it is a more hidden tragedy, something that can be masked well. Could it be that we started chasing approval? Somewhere between our sold out cry to Jesus, we began selling out to the head nods of the world. Claiming that, “Yes! We can have both! The world’s approval and God’s!” But can it really be?
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
Or maybe it’s simply that we’ve lost the wonder of heaven. That it no longer became as mysteriously glorious as it once was, so we lost our fight. Is heaven really that good? And when we lose heaven’s weight, we lose the gospel.
So, yes, the fight for hope comes with a necessary heaven.
But the reality of claiming a necessary heaven comes when the world is stripped from us. When we realize approval, success, riches, glory, perfect motherhood, perfect marriage, perfect anything is all a great façade. When the curtain is peeled back and we see it’s been an illusion all along, is when heaven is beautiful again.
But peeling back the curtain hurts.
So here is where truth comes in – it is better to fight and keep the curtain pulled back than to believe the illusion our weary world affords.
Jesus asks us to pray this way, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”
Paraphrase: Heaven is coming and heaven is come.
I know. It’s a hard concept and one that a seminary professor has a hard time teaching. John’s gospel actually preaches it the most and the fancy word for it is Johannine dualism. But who has time for fancy words when we need practical?
What we really need to know is that heaven is worth every hard day, every dark night of the soul, every unsolved sickness, every lost friendship.
Heaven is worth every ounce of perseverance, every loss (even the sickest, hardest kind) and every deep unknown.
Heaven is worth fighting for the least of these and being ridiculously uncomfortable for a majority of your days.
Heaven is worth it.
I could go into the beauty of it all or the magnificence of what it will be like to bask in God’s presence, but we’ve heard it all. Memorized it all. Hung signs on our doors. And sung about it for years.
What we really need is to believe it. Heaven is worth it.
Fight to believe in heaven again. It’s the doorway to hope.