As I child, I wanted to go to heaven because I was terrified of hell. As I grew a little older and found out more about what heaven will be like, I wanted to go there to have my very own pet lion.
Time passed. I lived through the civil war in Lebanon. I spent nights in bomb shelters terrified of the deafening blasts, wondering if any of my loved ones had died. I wanted to go to heaven so there would be no more war…ever! No more dead, dying, or maimed victims.
I matured and came to admire the Apostle Paul. He captivated me. I wanted to see him in heaven and ply him with questions, but also to give him a great big hug and tell him how much his writings had touched my heart. I wanted to ask him how he could still say,“I have learned to be content whatever my circumstances….for me to live is Christ, to die is gain….I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord…”after having been beaten, stoned, starved, and imprisoned for his faith.
Years passed, and I had to deal daily with seeing my mother struggle with MS- falls, stitches, and burns a common thing. I saw it all. I had to keep walking in the valley of the shadow of death because I knew that Mom wasn't going to make it. I saw her radiant smile become lopsided. I saw her cry because she could no longer sing. I heard her pray to be spared the torture of living. I saw my dad feed, bathe, clothe, groom, and dress her. Yes, I wanted to go to heaven to see my Mama well and vibrant…singing again like an angel, and picking flowers in the nature she so loved. I wanted to see her whole: body, mind, and spirit.
All this is waiting for us in heaven…the land of no more night….no more tears…no more pain. Paul assures us in I Corinthians 2:9- “But as it is written: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’.”
Do you want to know why I want to go to heaven? I want to see Jesus exalted and lifted up on high. Among the last things that he heard while here on earth was the profanity and jeering of the crowd calling for His death. He saw faces contorted with hatred for him. I want to be there when all He hears is the songs of love and praise from the lips of people whom He has saved. I want to witness him coming into his own. I want to see His eyes fill with tears as he looks at faces filled with love, gratitude, and adoration. I want to be there when the fulfillment of this verse takes place. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”(Hebrews 12: 2). I want to be there when in that vast multitude of people Jesus somehow finds me, looks me straight in the eyes, holds my gaze for a moment, and….smiles. Yes, that’s why I want to go to heaven.