Heaven

Is escaping life the key?

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Yesterday morning the words of my massage therapist struck me so much that I've been thinking about them ever since. (Before you get jealous, I will tell you that the massage was just so-so...yes it was relaxing, to the point that I may have woken myself up snoring a few times, yep that happened...but still, you didn't miss anything.) When the massage started she said something like "these next 80 minutes (I mean it, don't be jealous, you didn't miss a thing) are all yours. You can escape the world and all its trials and stress and just breathe in good energy," or something along those lines. Anyway, I couldn't get her words about "escaping the world" out of my mind. My gut reaction was that I don't actually want to escape the world, why would I?

Don't get me wrong, I know that there are a lot of awful things that happen to each and every one of us and the people we love and hold dear to ourselves (save all the other atrocities happening all over the globe at this very moment). I've seen my fair share of tragedy in my own life from diseases to addictions to fatal drunk driving accidents to the affects of mental health issues, burglaries, and we're just talking about my family and close friends. I get it. There are things that happen in this world and in our lives that literally SUCK. As I type this, one of my friend's moms is on hospice from a rare cancer that has spread all over her body.

However, the truth is that we weren't created for all this bad stuff. The intent was never that we would experience all this pain, heartache and struggle in our lives. Yes, the chaos and evil in this world that we live in is very real and we experience it firsthand. But despite all of this darkness that can feel overwhelming and paralyzing at times, and likely the sound of "escaping" (if we actually could) is appealing, it is possible to experience joy, contentment, peace, hope, the fullness of life.

Because in fact, we were created to experience heaven on earth today, and an abundant life, not by escaping this world, but actually while being present and living in it. We aren't just supposed to survive this life and somehow manage to get through it. We're supposed to thrive despite what may happen to us, and those we love deeply.

And what if, we're not just created to thrive in the midst of the darkness of this world, but what if we're also supposed to play a part in bringing heaven to earth? See, I actually believe that that is part of our calling as humanity: to make earth like heaven (where tragedy, pain, suffering, oppression, tears themselves are absent). So instead of escaping life, what if we ran headlong into it?

God's Response

Since the beginning, God’s desire has been that we would experience the same kind of life on earth as in heaven, in and through our relationship with God and our relationships with one another.  Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and life to the full.”  He was talking about our lives today, on earth. When Jesus was about to die, He said that it was better for Him to go away so that He could send the Holy Spirit who would live inside of everyone who believed in Him so that they could carry on the work that He started of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  2 Corinthians 5:20 says that, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

When Jesus lived on earth, He spent His time giving life to people, helping them connect with God in a personal way, freeing them from hopeless situations, healing them of their diseases and casting out evil spirits.  Jesus spent His life freeing people of everything that kept them from experiencing the fullness of heaven while on earth.  He is the definition of life, of hope.

God’s plan is that the Church would literally continue to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth today just as Jesus did.  Imagine what life might be like if everyone in the world had the opportunity to experience the power of a relevant and real God in their life through life-giving churches worthy of their cities!  This is God's desire.