What I find fascinating about this is that Paul longs for death in this world to be with Christ which mirrors my desires in a poignant way. Yet his desire for this is not sin...it is simply the truth; and while he longs to go and be with Christ, he is willing to remain to continue Christ's work upon this earth. Also, while he was personally longing for the reward of Heaven, this was written during his first imprisonment in Rome. He did not realize that he would eventually be released, have many further encounters with people to share the Gospel, and be imprisoned once more. His desire to go to Heaven was not sinful because he was willing to be patient and obedient to Christ to wait.
Three times God has spoken to me, and all three times, He has used one word. Yet within each word contained a full, rich story & instructions for me. The three words were:
|Photo by Jon Sheppard. Used with permission.|
So, here I was, in the mountains, wanting to leave my mortal shell, and I became surrounded by lightning. My guilt over my desire left, and I was at peace with the idea that I would die but not by my own hand. I was filled with enough peace (and exhaustion from the hike) that I actually fell asleep in the midst of the storm.
When I woke and realized that I wasn't taken, I was upset. I asked God why He didn't choose to take me when He had the perfect opportunity. His answer was: WAIT! This one word was filled with encouragement, instruction, purpose, and peace.
- The day would come when I would receive the reward of Heaven, but I needed to be patient.
- I was willing to die for Christ; I needed to be willing to live for Christ.
- I came up to the mountain with the intention of giving my life to Christ, and that is exactly what happened, but not in the way I had planned. Instead, because my life had been spared & because of my relationship with Christ, every day belonged to Him.
- God has the ability to remove me from this world at any moment He wishes. Because I am here, my time here has purpose.
- My purpose for every day I am on this earth is to love my Lord, love others, and make disciples.
So within this passage of Scripture, I once again find the words already spoken for something that is crying out in my heart. My life is to honor Christ in every way, and when the day comes when I am allowed into Heaven, it will be cause for celebration for I will receive the reward for which I have waited for so long because my work here is finished.