I Don’t Want To Go To Heaven

Friday, February 26, 2016

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (Jn 14:1–3, ESV)

“I’d walk a hundred miles to get to heaven.” “The streets are paved with gold!” “There is everlasting food!” “I’ll be with my relatives and friends who have died!” I’ve even heard a few people hope that in heaven they would be fishing in the peace and quiet of nature.

It is THE ultimate, exclusive dream destination. Right? Not for me.

In John, Christ gives us a hint of what awaits us. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say he’ll drop you off in Heaven. He doesn’t tell us to just go have fun up there. He says he will take us to himself. Think about that. Jesus is going to take us to himself.

The emphasis is on Christ. That’s the priority. The streets are indeed paved with gold in the new kingdom. Yes. But that is not for God to show off His wealth. It is simply there for us to walk over. The gold is so plentiful that it is worthless, so much so that God uses it for paving. In Revelations 21:22-23 reveals the true beauty of Heaven.

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:22–24, ESV)

It is God. He is what makes heaven shine. He is the reason for heaven. We will be singing and praising Him in all His glory. In fact, that is our very reason for being. We were created by Him for His glory, as it says throughout scripture, one example, being Isaiah:

”I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6–7)

So we will not want to be in heaven just to be there. We are only wanting heaven because God is there. That is where we can experience his pure love for us and we can love Him and praise Him.

My wife draws digital caricatures and is flown around the world for her clients. She was in Italy a few weeks ago and Australia a few weeks before that. When she’s away, I love her. But when she returns, I am filled with joy and want to be with her. Imagine your own spouse leaving for an extended period and the joy of being reunited. Now try to imagine that joy, multiplied by infinity, when we are carried up to meet God.

Naturally, our small, finite minds cannot ever imagine that much love. But it gives an idea of how much we’ll want to just be with Him.

Let’s return to the last phrase in John 14:3, “that where I am you may be also.” This is another indication that it isn’t about getting into heaven. It is about being with Christ. He has prepared a room for us so that we may be with Him for an eternity. While I don’t know where that room is, I know the way. It is Jesus.

In just two short verses later, in verse 6, he lays it out. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

He is the way. Our ultimate joy isn’t a place. It is three persons. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

This is why I sometimes cringe when someone says they’ll do anything to get into heaven, as if it is just some dream island getaway. They describe heaven as filled with relaxation and food. Or any number of other earthly pleasures.

But no mention of God.

So often they leave out the one reason we would ever want to go to heaven. Because He is there.

Sadly, I feel that as this new Christianity is molded, Hell is erased and heaven is created out of the idols that are worshipped on earth. And in doing so, we are replacing God with our own idols. I’m sad this is happening and I’m sad that the destination is becoming more important that the real reason to be there. In fact, that is one reason for fasting.

When we are enjoying the good things on earth, it can be easy to forget God. Too many good things on earth can indeed be a bad thing.

Fasting can remind us of what God provides. We can be reminded that we live not on bread alone, but on His Word. While fasting, we remember Him more because we are distracted less by that awesome steak or piece of pie. Removing those distractions allows us to focus more on His love and what He has given us.

So if Jesus happens to be in heaven, I’ll gladly go there. If God resides in Jerusalem, I’ll go there. Not for endless food or for solitude while fishing. For Him. I’m not concerned with where I’ll be, but who I’m with. I am reminded of Ruth:

”Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16, ESV)

I don’t want to go to heaven. I want to go where Jesus is.




Hi. I'm Scott Sullivan, a slave of Christ and husband to my awesome wife Angie. I'm an artist and writer, living in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster, Pa.

I recently published, Searching For Me, my first memoir. It’s about my adoption, search for my biological family, and how it affected my faith. Read about it here.