God has made us such that we have an inescapable need for perfect, unmitigated, consummate fellowship with Him. That need cannot be filled in this life, even in Christ, and our tragedy is that we do not see how much more we need.
As Jesus ascended to heaven, He would not have spared His beloved friends and disciples the sorrow of this parting or scolded their broken hearts. For some tears are the tears of love. And the tears of love are ever the tears of gratitude and hope.
In heaven, our hearts and our habitation will fit together perfectly. Never again will a broken world leave us empty. Our Father will be there, and for the first time since Eden, the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will know what “home” means.
For those who are found “in Christ,” we really do have a wonderful problem: trying to stretch our imaginations enough to take in just how good eternity is going to be. “God’s best gifts put man’s best dreams to shame” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).
Our attitude needs to include a healthy blend of two priorities. We need, on the one hand, to throw ourselves eagerly into today’s work. And also, we need to look forward with eager excitement to the day when the Lord will say, “Well done.”
God has given us free wills: we can refuse His purposes. But why would we do so? Why would we not say “Yes” to His plan of salvation and then yield to everything we can learn of His will? Why would we want anything other than what He wants for us?
God is the perfection of beauty because He is the perfection of goodness. Right now, we get little more than inklings of Him, but these entice us. They open the doors of imagination to a realm where total goodness, and therefore total beauty, exists.
With faith, our waiting can be a waiting of hope, and that makes all the difference in the world. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” Confident that the end is going to be good, we can wait until the story is finished.
We can’t live in this world (ruined as it is by rebellion against what is right) and not groan for a better world. So we should embrace the eternity that is in our hearts, even at the price of the emptiness that it makes us feel right now.
If our work is that of just one link, we should want it to be the best link possible. Having done our part, we will be replaced (and forgotten by those who replace us), but mighty consequences hinge on whether we do our part — while we still live.