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Anticipation and Excitement

When I came back to work this week, several coworkers asked me about my “vacation.”  I had to tell them the nature of our trip was not “vacation,” but rather a matter of assessing the health and welfare of my aging father.  He had fallen three times in two days, and was exhibiting other symptoms which caused sufficient concern for us to go see for ourselves.

As I later considered the question they asked, I realized something, and believe there is an application to make regarding our Christianity, and how we should “walk” in this life.

Our recent trip was not one we looked forward to.  It was a necessary one.  I thought about the differences in the way we have anticipated and been excited about some other trips. In recent years, we have been fortunate enough to travel to West Virginia, Utah, Hawaii, and Florida on actual vacations.  I reflected that as time grew closer for those trips, our excitement and anticipation levels increased – we thought more and more about the time we would spend at those sites, things we would see and do.  Some of the tedium of the present didn’t seem quite as important because we knew there was a “break” ahead – a time we would enjoy.  We had no trouble focusing energy and resources on that time ahead.  We “gave up” some forms of recreation or entertainment so we could have the money for the really special time we expected to have at our destination.

Then it occurred to me that one of the things preventing our investing ourselves fully in the Christian walk is our lack of genuine excitement or anticipation about Heaven.  We do not (and to a point cannot) really grasp just how wonderful Heaven will be.  The greatest vacation spot on earth (wherever it is, whatever it is for any of us) cannot compare with Heaven.  The most opulent resort we could possibly afford and enjoy here cannot approach what our Father has prepared for us. 

If we could (would) allow ourselves to become excited about that eternal home in heaven early in our lives, the “troubles” of this life would be less troublesome.  If we could (would) look forward to that time like we look forward to vacations here, we could avoid becoming so embroiled in the things of this world, and would find ourselves more spiritual, more concerned about the things of God than of this life.  Instead of waiting until the last years of our lives to think about how great Heaven will be, let’s commit ourselves early in life to look toward eternity. 

Think about it – think of some of the words Paul wrote about things that he so happily gave up for Christ and the reward he knew was waiting for him  (Philippians 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:8 and many others.)   What are we willing to “give up” here to enjoy that eternal joy in God’s presence?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to promote morbid thinking.  God gives us this life to live on earth, to work for Him, and, yes, to enjoy.  Let’s do enjoy life and loved ones here where His blessings toward us abound.  But let’s remember the song we sing - “this world is not my home.”  Let’s look forward to – really become excited about our eternal home, where things will be inexpressibly better, more magnificent than the best we can know here.  (Philippians  3:20 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . .)