Heaven with no Jesus?
We have a cozy home that provides five small bedrooms for our sprawling family. We’ve lived here for twelve years, so we’ve had time to make it like we like it. I love to come home and kick off my shoes as soon as I come in the door. It’s always inviting and often filled with joyful chatter and laughter. We light candles for fragrance and all kinds of pictures, and interior decorating make each room an inviting place to be. Whenever any of us leaves, we are just counting the days before we get to return.
I got to thinking, “What makes it the place I want to be more then anywhere else?” Occasionally, I have the opportunity to stay home all by myself. Visions of the kid in the movie, “Home Alone,” might come to your mind, and though I do occasionally wear Brute aftershave, I wouldn’t take that vision too far if I were you. I’m not jumping on the bed or ordering pizza, nor am I “watching rubbish on TV.” At times like that I enjoy a few moments of solitude and then the silence starts to get…loud. It’s too quiet. I begin to miss the chatter. I have things I want to say, but there is no one to tell it to. That’s when I am reminded that the reason I enjoy being home is not so much because of the house and our possessions. On the surface, it seems to be about this place, this house and the belongings we’ve collected over the years. But, when the people I love are gone, this house is missing something that defines a home.
I think I can handle the idea of my kids growing up and launching out on their own, but this house would echo with melancholy memories if Jennifer, my wife, was never here. Just thinking of it makes my heart ache for those who now live alone and don’t want to. Home is the place I want to be because Jennifer is here. I realize it’s not about things or atmosphere. It’s not even about me having things the way I like them. It’s about watching the most delightful person I’ve ever met go about her day with happiness and contentment. It’s what she brings when she walks into the room. She’s still that good-hearted girl I first met when she was only fifteen years old. To me, the warmth and security of home is determined by where she is and I count the moments or days we have to be apart until we are together again. That’s when home is home and all seems right with the world.
Sometimes people act as if heaven were merely an environment. To some it’s a place where you eat whatever you want without gaining weight. Some act as if heaven is a place where there’s no work to do. To some, it’s endless retirement. To others, it’s a great family reunion. The Bible certainly describes some wonderful things about heaven; streets of gold, no more sorrow, no more pain. But, here’s the thing. Would Heaven be heaven to you, if Jesus wasn’t there?
What a horrible thought! All that love. All that sacrifice. All that waiting. And we don’t get to see Jesus? We can’t watch His eyes, listen to His voice, catch His glance. Surely the presence of Jesus is the great prize of eternity.
Read these verses aloud and imagine Jesus’ voice speaking these words. (John 14:1-3)
“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.”
Surely, the fact that He is preparing a place for us is no greater thing than the fact that He will come again and take us to Himself, that where He is there we will be also. Now doesn’t that sound more like home?