Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking For Heaven

Wednesday: 5 December, 2102 –– First Week in Advent
Isaiah 25:6–10a  / Matthew 15:29–37
Looking For Heaven

It has occurred to me numerous times that the more comfortable I am, the less focused I am on spiritual intensity. Heaven does not seem so important if it seems we have a relative heaven on earth. This is an illusion perpetuated by two things: circumstantial comforts (what this means varies from person to person) and a self-focused mentality (to the extent we can ignore or insulate ourselves from others’ pain, we can more easily have “personal comfort”).

The people who long most for heaven are those whose lives are marked by tears (literally or figuratively). For those who mourn, Isaiah’s promise is indeed good news: The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces....

Think about the people who either welcomed Jesus or rejected him. Those who rejected him were mostly comfortable with their position in life and saw Jesus as a threat. On the other hand, great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others....

Then there’s Jesus’ response –– the One who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.... Matthew tells us, Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd....”

The more we are willing to enter into suffering, the more closely we are following our Lord. The more closely we enter into suffering, the more we will treasure the promises from Isaiah that God’s salvation is coming.

The world around us says to seek our own comfort –– to grab a bit of heaven on earth. Those who follow Jesus know the more we are in touch with the real brokenness and hurts of this world, the greater will be our hope and our joy of Isaiah’s promise that Jesus will come again to make everything new.

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