Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Confession: I Don't Want to go to Heaven

As a "good Christian," I'm supposed to be dying to go to Heaven (no pun intended slight pun intended). From the time I walked down the aisle at 8 years old, I've been told I should want to go to Heaven; that this life is only temporary and if at any point I'm "called home" I should be jumping for joy. I know all the fantastic things the bible says or people interpret the bible to say about Heaven: Golden streets, pearly gates, no more pain, never ending joy, and most most MOST importantly, spending time face to face with my savior and creator for all eternity. 

Do these things sound exciting and make me happy? Absolutely. But here's the catch (and I feel a little religious guilt even saying this out loud): I don't want to go to there. Ahhhh!!!!!!!! Okay, track with me, I know that is totally not what a youth pastor's wife is supposed to be saying! First of all, I have a daily sin struggle that robs me of joy. I have made choices that have left me broken. People I love have struggled and ached and I have done so with them. I have lost and I have mourned.
 But the thing is, I love my life here on earth. I have an incredible husband who is more wonderful than I ever deserved, a sweet baby on the way that I can't wait to hold in my arms, two pups that keep me laughing each day, an incredible community of friends and family, tons of wonderful students in FSM, a job that fulfills me in every way, and overall, an extremely joy-filled life that has been granted to me BY my lord and savior.

So I'm stuck here between being grateful and embracing the wonderful life God has blessed me with, and whole-heartedly aching to leave this life to join the beauty he intended for me to live in long term.

If I'm being honest I can tell you the thing that keeps me from wanting to be in Heaven. But I don't want to. But otherwise why did I write this blog post? Okay, I will tell you.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing friends and family forever that don't know Jesus. Fear of not getting every ounce of joy out of this life before it's my time to leave it. 
But I have a very wise friend who opened my eyes. My friend Katie, who is only 25 and a newlywed, was recently diagnosed with cancer. This isn't supposed to happen to people our age, and definitely not to people I actually know. But the great thing about Katie is that she is a straight shooter, so when I asked her how it made her feel to be presented with such a personal possibility of Heaven, she told me she actually wasn't scared at all (cue mouth drop and big eyes as I sat in my driveway listening to her). She said that from the moment she got her diagnosis she actually felt more at peace about dying than she ever had before. How does this happen, I ask?! Katie told me as plainly as she could that while it was totally crushing to be told you have cancer and may or may not survive, and while she definitely struggles and hurts over her situation, that the peace she has been granted could only come from the Holy Spirit and is greater than the feeling of loss. She said she wasn't scared to die and go to Heaven--she was grateful for her salvation and knowing that Jesus would be waiting for her. Needless to say, I am so proud to call her my friend and so grateful for the Lord's presence in her life.

Closing thoughts: I have come to the conclusion that it's not a bad thing to love the life the Lord has given me, embracing blessings from him will never be anything but grateful. But I do need to pray for a peace about the fact that no matter how much joy I am experiencing here, one day I will die and that's okay, because Heaven will be so much greater. So I pray to be more like Paul:
Philippians 1:21-24 "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live."

God, help me to continue serving you while on this earth and give me a heart like Paul, a heart that values Jesus over all other sources of joy.


  1. Way to go, Sarah, tears... She is pretty awesome though, huh?

    Liz G.

  2. You should read Heaven is For Real by that little boy who had a near death encounter. Really made me WAY more excited about going to Heaven. Its going to be super neat and fun there! Love you sis!

  3. thanks for sharing this sarah! joining you in those prayers!

    molly bunton