For believers who await their reward in heaven and look forward to the day they see God’s face, are you homesick? Our lives are hidden with Christ if we are born again; shouldn’t that create a longing for our proper home with Him in heaven? Why do we sometimes cling to this world in fear of death instead of eagerly awaiting the moment of completion when we will be taken into His presence?
Death is a natural part of life as we know it. It is the consequence and curse of sin, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Physical death is inescapable, but the unknown is no less terrifying. Even for those who maintain belief in an afterlife, death is intimidating and even dreaded.
Paul gives a radically different perspective on death. In Philippians he expresses his earnest dilemma between his desire to continue serving and his desire to be with Christ.
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Philippians 1:22-23)
His desire to live is not motivated by selfish pursuits, but only those that are glorifying to God. His bucket list doesn’t include owning a nice car or home, starting a family, living to see his grandchildren, or saving up to travel the world once retired. He lives solely for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom he has found more worth than anything this life could offer.
Is it enough to simply not fear death? If we have the hope of Christ in our hearts, shouldn’t there be a certain eagerness for death? I don’t mean in the morbid sense of someone preoccupied with death and the experience, but rather in the sense of one looking forward to their coming glorification. We will experience more joy in heaven than we ever could on earth.
Heaven will be filled with eternal praises for Yahweh, the Most High God, and we will finally come face to face with Him and be in His presence. There is a tragic misconception that heaven will be boring. Won’t it get old, praising and worshiping God eternally? The simple answer: no. For those who learn to delight themselves in God now, experiencing joy in the act of worshipping Him will be no challenge in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 that tell us there will be no more mourning, tears, or pain. Additionally, the Beatitudes give a picture of comfort and hope to those who presently suffer, for there is a coming reward in heaven for those who endure for the sake of the gospel. This is something to praise Him for now, not only later when we receive our reward.
If we have truly given our lives over to Christ, we should reject living for ourselves and instead be living in light of eternity. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of this life, as long as the satisfaction gained from them does not exceed the contentment we find simply basking in His presence and grace. We were created with the purpose of gloryfying God, and as long as we are alive, there is still more to do.
When we lay down our idols and present comforts and realize that to live is Christ and to die is gain, there is an unspeakable comfort in knowing that in life or death, it will be for our good and God’s glory. There is no more cause to resist the day that God chooses to take us into His presence, and to call us home.