“Jesus, take me now” I uttered as I slowly pulled the covers up and over my head. There in the darkness, in the despair of my soul, I told my Savior that I was ready to be with Him. I was ready to leave this earth and be translated into heavenly glory. I selfishly didn’t care about anything else at the moment – my family, my calling, my responsibilities. I only cared about escaping this present world and to immediately be in the perfection of the next.
Honestly, there have been difficult times in my life where I have prayed that prayer often. Sometimes I think I’m the only one that prays this seemingly selfish prayer, but as I ask around, I’m finding that this is not true. We live in an unpredictable and scary world. We ache for our friends and family members who are struggling. We are overwhelmed by the myriad of responsibilities that fall on us. We are worn out from people being offended and disappointed with us. We miss our loved ones who have left us.
Life, here on earth, is hard.
What is it about the next world that is so attractive? What causes that prayer of hope and desperation to rise up within us?
In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, heaven is described as place where God will dwell with His people. And God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain.
No death or loss.
No mourning or grief.
No crying, no tears.
No gut-wrenching, heart-breaking pain.
God our Father and Jesus our Savior are in heaven. While the earth is filled with trouble, heaven is a place of peace. Sometimes people on earth don’t like us, but our heavenly home is filled with those who love us. And in heaven, we no longer worry about our future or grieve for things lost.
I for one am looking forward to being flat on my face and worshipping God for all eternity. I will enjoy every minute of it.
In Philippians 1:21-25 we see Paul wrestle with the decision to live or to die. He says that to live will mean fruitful labor for the Philippians and is necessary for their sake. To live, which he ultimately chooses, means that he can serve them. But Paul also admits that this is a hard decision for him, because he has “the desire to depart and be with Christ; for that is very much better.”
He didn’t say that being with Jesus is just better, but “very much better.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 we learn a precept that is spoken of at many funerals, which is “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Paul explains in verse 6 that we while we are in our bodies, our flesh, we are absent from the Lord. But he makes a stunning statement in verse 8, “we…prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Did you catch that?
Our preference is to be with Jesus.
Why is that? Paul alludes to it in the verses above, that to be absent from these frail bodies is to be at home with the Lord. This earth that we live in is not our home. We do not belong here. No wonder I sometimes wish for an easy a one-way ticket out! Philippians 3:20 clearly explains this, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” When you become a believer in Jesus, you transfer your citizenship from this earth to heaven.
This earth is no longer your home, but heaven is.
When my husband Brian and I are out running errands or attending functions, I often joke that “I want to go home.” I long for my physical home, which is a place of solace and peace and comfort to me. In the same way, I am longing for my heavenly home, which is a place that all pain – both physical and emotional – will come to an end.
It is a place where I can be with God, face-to-face, which is the very reason for which I was created.
Anne Graham Lotz writes in her book, Heaven: My Fathers House,
“The home you’ve always wanted, the home you continue to long for with all of your heart, is the home God is preparing for you.”
After discovering these scriptures, I know that the Apostle Paul felt the same way, and I no longer feel guilty for wanting to be with Jesus. But I know that it’s not my choice and I must wait. I know that Jesus will bring me home in His perfect timing. Until then, my heart longs to be with Him, and I pray the same prayer we see in the Bible,
“Come, Lord Jesus.”
Come. So that I can go home.
P.S. I was not suicidal when I wrote this post last year, just hurting, and our desire to be with Jesus is never an excuse to take our lives in our own hands. My faithful God brought me through that hard season of “Jesus, take me now.” He taught me how to replace my prayer of desperation with a prayer of hope. Over time, as I healed, I learned to replace “Jesus, take me now” with “Jesus, help me now.” I share this post with you so that you are not alone when you feel this way.
If you are at this place of desperation, I’m here for you. Email me at Lisa@CelebratingWeakness.com. I’ve been there and I understand and I would love to listen and pray for you.
NC Friends – I’m speaking at this retreat in March at the beautiful Shell Island Resort at Wrightsville Beach. I would love to have you join us!