Anticipating the Destination
By David Wise
As I sit on the first leg of my journey to Israel, the anticipation is beginning to build as the trip finally feels real. Up to this point there has been so much going on that I haven’t had time to focus fully on what I’m going to do. I’ve spent the last few months looking over the brochure, reading the books provided by the tour company, outlining ideas for videos with our staff, and talking about the trip to whoever was interested; but I haven’t thought much about the personal impact this opportunity will have.
In just over 24 hours I will be driving through areas where the Son of God walked, performed miracles, talked with friends, shared meals with acquaintances, and prayed to His Father on our behalf. Although I don’t believe that some areas are more holy than others, to be present where God took on flesh and walked among His creation, to feel the weight of this reality, is an experience of a lifetime. Although I should have been living with greater anticipation for the trip up to this point, I found myself weighed down by the worries, struggles, distractions, and frustrations of the day.
I wonder if that’s why more of us don’t reflect more often on eternity. Maybe it’s not that we don’t want to think about heaven and being united with God forever; perhaps it’s just that the day-to-day issues we face take precedence because they’re directly in front of us. Although the reason this happens is understandable, it seems to be an incomplete way of living. If we wait until we’re dying to reflect on the reality of heaven it seems like we’ll miss so many opportunities around us.
As we spent our time Sunday answering questions about things leading up to eternity, I found myself convicted of not living in light of eternity. I don’t ever want to focus so much on heaven that I neglect to live my life fully for God here and now, but I feel like I don’t anticipate heaven nearly enough. I wonder if part of the reason I don’t anticipate it is that I don’t think of the reality of heaven because the things happening today overshadow what’s waiting, or if I place more value on things of this world than the things of eternity.
I know that every time I hear someone use Jesus’ words about storing up treasures in heaven, I worry about a talk on money. I don’t think Jesus was speaking financially though. I believe He was directing our attention and our focus toward heaven to remember the reality of what’s waiting. If I thought more about treasures in heaven (not financially) and being united with God, walking with Jesus, seeing as many people as possible there and as a part of God’s family, then perhaps that would help me to anticipate heaven more.
I realize this isn’t a new thought. I’m not sure there are any original thoughts anymore, but it’s something I believe we need to cling to and live our lives by. We should not focus solely on the myriad of events happening in our lives and around us, but pause and ask ourselves, “Does this impact eternity?” Perhaps then it would put issues in perspective compared to what’s waiting for us. By realizing that eternity is bigger than the day-to-day distractions and frustrations we can better understand the importance of living for God here and now. Only as we’re able to look past everything directly in front of us will we be able to anticipate heaven. As we anticipate eternity with God then we’ll see the actual importance of our individual issues, frustrations, distractions, and worries. This perspective puts things into proper order and allows us to experience things here and now in light of how they affect eternity, just like looking back at everything happening before my trip is now put in a different perspective in light of what’s waiting for me.
What your life look like if you viewed everything now in light of what’s waiting?