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  • Katie Hartfiel

Heaven- Do We Really Desire it?

My second child is a grand introvert. There are so many ways I wish I could be more like her in her introspection and peace. However, one challenge for me as her extrovert parent is her lack of desire to elaborate on all the things. Every time she comes home from school, we have the same conversation,

Me: How was your day?

Her: It was good.

Me: What did you do?

Her: Stuff.

Me: What kind of stuff?

Her: Super cool stuff you probably wouldn’t understand.

Me: Good talk.

One day during breakfast she blurted out, “I’m scared to die.” Taken aback I didn’t know what to say! She doesn’t want to tell me her favorite animal at the zoo but we are going to start with death? Stalling as I reached in the air for some sort of wise reply, I said, “Why do you feel that way?” She answered, “Well, I’ve never died before. I don’t know anyone who has died. I don’t know what it will be like, so I don’t want to do it.”

Fair enough.

I think we all relate! My first-grader hit a universal problem right on the head. We don’t know what death is like. We try not to think about it, even though it will be the most important part of our life. If we don't get that part right- literally nothing.else.matters.

Heaven is incredibly mysterious and unknown. Furthermore, to be very honest, I think our expectations of Heaven are pretty low. When we think of Heaven, we imagine golden streets, pearly gates, and peaceful animals frolicking in fields with rainbows and sunlight. This sounds like a great vacation, but living there eternally might not sound overly exciting.

However, I once heard that for us to try to imagine what Heaven is like, is like an unborn baby trying to imagine what the world is like. A baby not only has no real ability to understand or process this type of communication, it also has no reference point. The best a baby could probably come up with is a giant hot tub! There would be no experience the baby has had that could help him imagine a tree, the sky or a mother.

Yet, a baby does have these small clues that there may be something more- A faint shadow, a muffled sound, a glimpse of light that may point to something greater.

The funny thing is that when a baby is born, they want nothing more than to go back into their mother’s womb. In reality, we talk about how awful childbirth is, but the day we are born is probably the worst experience of our lives. I think it is God’s mercy that we don’t remember it! Suddenly, this poor infant is ripped from their comfortable habitat, is manhandled through the air, is cold, feels blinded and has to breathe air. If we could understand what they are screaming when they are born it would probably be, “Put me back in!”

However, none of us woke up this morning wishing to be back in our mother’s womb. That would be weird. On the contrary, we’ve seen the world and we never desire to go back. So it will be with Heaven. There will never be a moment where we say, “Wow! I sure miss earth.” We will see that the best experiences in our lives were nothing more than a faint shadow, a muffled sound, a glimpse of light that point to something greater. It will then make sense that this life is simply a place preparing us to be born into the life we were meant for all along.

As we approach this season of Advent, we will spend a lot of time focusing on “waiting.” This time of year reminds us of the longing of the people of the Old Testament as they begged God to send a Savior. Let’s not be afraid to feel the ache this year. We all want the pandemic to be over, for things to be “normal” again but what then? Is it possible that our hearts are really starving for much more?

I want to challenge you to use this unique time to be fully aware that you were made for more than the uncertainty and fear of this world. Find hope in the promises God has kept and the magnitude of His faithfulness. Most of all, pray for a desire to desire Heaven in a way you never have before.

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