Early on in Chapter 6, Chan references a section of John Piper's God is the Gospel:
"The critical question for our generation- and for every generation- is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied in heaven, if Christ was not there?" p. 101
When I first read this excerpt, it felt like I just received a swift blow to my mid-section. There was a split second where I couldn't catch my breath. It sounds a little dramatic, I know. But, I assure you, it's the truth. It was this consuming realization that both amazed me... and disgusted me. For you see, not once, in all my years of being a Christian, had I EVER thought about seeing Jesus in heaven. My thoughts of heaven consisted of the building anticipation of seeing loved ones, as well as the hopes of residing in a place where there was no more sadness or pain. I've thought about the grandeur of heaven that is referenced in Isaiah... the throne room of God. I've thought about God, Himself, being there... far removed, almost like He's sitting on His perch, observing all of heaven. I've even thought about seeing the Apostle Paul... and having long conversations with him... because I have a lot of questions that I'd like him to answer. But, not once, did I ever imagine seeing Jesus... let alone experiencing a joyful anticipation at our meeting. In that split second, when I couldn't catch my breath, I experienced this horrible combination of shame, embarrassment, sadness and disgust all rolled into one. Leaving myself to ponder the most obvious question: How in the world did this happen?
After the passage, Chan asks an even more disturbing question: "How many of you will read those words and say, 'You know, I just might be okay with that?'" Chan goes on to talk about his Grandma Clara... whom I'll talk about in the next entry. She was so in love with Christ that she could never have been satisfied in a heaven without Him. For some of you, this might not be as significant to your walk in faith as it was mine... but I'm also quite sure that I'm not alone. For, you see, in all my conversations about heaven over the years, I can think of only two people (out of, I dare say, hundreds) that ever truly showed an undeniable anticipation for meeting Jesus face to face. The more I think about it... this only bolsters the argument that we truly don't know what it is to LOVE Jesus... that consuming, endearing, endless love, as with a parent, or spouse, or child. I'll admit that it's a truly difficult concept for me to wrap my head around... but I'll also admit that beginning to understand this concept of loving Jesus is where everything changes for people like me... and maybe you.
Just spend some time thinking about today's entry... specifically the words of John Piper. Share his insight with someone else and get their perspective. I'll warn you that it can be really tempting to "beat yourself up" over this one... especially if your perception of heaven didn't include the anticipation of meeting Jesus. But try to see this moment for what it truly is... a chance to change course... because that's what this is all about!
His Faithful Servant~