This is a guest post from Klara Girgis – a student from Vienna, Austria and proud member of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox church who has guest posted before. In today's post, Klara calls us to lift our eyes and our hearts to the one place we're all longing to see. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I don't know about you, but if there's one thing I long for it's this: the biggest, fattest hug from God and for Him to look us deep in the eye and say "Well done – welcome home, my daughter (or son)!" I don’t know about you, but I can imagine myself crying oceans on that day.
Every time I think about it, it makes me feel kind of sad that we actually have to live life with all its hardships to get there, but I found myself thinking: Why not live heaven on earth?
I came across recently that says "God is not where heaven is, heaven is where God is."
And that made me think...
Heaven is all about being in the presence of God 24/7. Without God, heaven would be nothing. What makes heaven so beautiful is God, which means that all we need to feel like we’re already in heaven is God!
It’s not health or wealth; it’s resting in God’s arms that makes man feel happy in hardships and fulfilled in an empty world.
We know that Adam and Eve actually had the chance to live this heavenly life. They were talking to God face to face, but we all also know how it went downhill from there.
Sin separated us from our loving father, but He used our failures and mistakes to show His love on a whole new level through dying for us on the cross and restoring our relationship to Him. From the very beginning God humbled Himself to establish a relationship with us stubborn humans - because He loves us!
(Listen to how crazy that sounds – GOD is putting more effort in this relationship than we ever did. How great is that love!)
His love even made Him long for dwelling within us. God doesn’t want a superficial relationship. He wants our hearts to be His throne. That’s how we can be living “in heaven“ while still being here on earth. That’s actually what the saints and martyrs did - which made them even long for death. Death is horrifying for many, but not for those who made Christ dwell in their hearts, for they know that death is not a loss, but that “to live is Christ and to die is gain“ (Philippians 1:21)
Do you think that someone, who hasn’t “tasted heaven", would actually stand in front of kings and governors and confess being a Christian, knowing it would cost his/her life? I don’t think so.
Now we know that heaven is all about God’s presence and His dwelling in our hearts, but how do we get God to dwell in us? Actually we already received His Spirit when we were baptized, but we often weaken this Spirit by remaining in our sins.
Our God is a holy God, who hates sin and won’t share His place in our hearts with anything that doesn’t fit His holy and pure nature.
Moreover our God respects our free will. He won’t ever force us to come to Him. When we look at the story of the paralyzed man in John 5, we find that Jesus asks him "do you want to be made well?" The question seems a bit strange; if I were this man, I would’ve probably answered, “Of course, I want to be healed! I’ve been laying here for 38 years already! What kind of question is that?“
It’s incredible how much respect and honor God gives to us, a bit of dust.
Therefore the first thing to do, is to welcome Christ in your life and to open that door He has been knocking on for so long. It’s not only about accepting Christ – most of us already did - but about learning Christ, just as Fr. Anthony taught us in Part 3 of the Seasoning Life Series.
Do you want to live a heavenly life?
Open your heart and welcome Him, that’s all God ever wanted. Christ’s presence in your life and His dwelling in your heart will make you feel like you’re in heaven. You’ll feel like you’re not home here in this bad world and this will comfort you. You’ll feel God’s company wherever you go. You’ll feel the comfort He gives in miserable situations and you’ll notice His listening ears when no one else cares to listen.
It’s true that we probably won’t be free from sin, pain or weakness until the day we’re called back home, but it’s also true that God never wanted us to live miserable lives on earth – quite the contrary – He came to give us life, life to the fullest. Earth is just not the final destination; it's merely a quick stop on our way home.
So, what are you waiting for? Take a step towards God. He's already doing the same towards you.