Heaven – We Need to Be Homesick

By Mark Buckleyhttps://gettingoverdepression.org/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=page

My wife and I took a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico. It was an awesome experience and at the end of each day our group would sit around a campfire for a devotional.
The one night I was asked to lead the devotional and God placed on my heart what He wanted me to discuss. I started by going around the group and asking each person, “When I say heaven, what comes to your mind?” I also gave them an opportunity to pass if they couldn’t think of something right away. The first couple of people passed, then the next said Jesus, then another love, but no one gave an answer as if heaven was on their mind.

I explained we had only been there for a couple of days without taking a shower and sleeping in tents and that I was already homesick. I’ve been thinking of a nice hot shower, comfortable bed, relaxing on the couch, going to the kitchen whenever I wanted to get something to eat and other comforts I missed. Yet I live in a world where sin is accepted, hate outweighs love, sexual immorality is just an alternative lifestyle, pollution, corruption, sickness and lust. This is truly Satan’s playground. I know when my time is up on this earth it will be time to go home, a beautiful place, too beautiful to be able to be described in this present world where I’m going to live with the one person who loves me more than anyone could for all eternity. Yet it hardly crosses my mind. How can I get so homesick for a temporary home on this earth and not homesick for my eternal home?

A couple of days after we returned from Mexico I was talking with someone and told them about my devotional on heaven. She asked if I had ever read a book by Randy Alcorn called, “Heaven”. I told her I never heard of it and she loaned me her copy. It was the most amazing and wonderful book, with the exception of the Bible, that I had ever read. Using scripture the book explains what heaven will be like and it was so reassuring and exciting I couldn’t put it down.

When we are depressed we give up hope and even the possibility of becoming happy, because we are unable to imagine that. That is also why we don’t think of heaven, because we don’t know what it’s going to be like. Some of us have images of doing nothing for all eternity in a constant state of peaceful bliss, how boring is that? Some think we will be just spirit beings like the angels, others picture themselves just sitting around worshipping God and others may think we will have a mindless existence and will have no desire to do anything except what we will be programmed to do. No wonder we don’t look forward to going home.

Randy Alcorn’s book however paints a totally different place, a place where you can’t wait to come home to. 2 Peter3: [13] But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Again using scripture the book explains if we were to pass away now we would be with Jesus in paradise, like the thief that was crucified next to Jesus. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” This will be a wonderful place, but not our eternal home. Mr. Alcorn explains that our family and friends who have gone ahead will be able to see us, we will recognize people when we get there and we will have a purpose that involves the gifts and abilities God has given us on earth.

Revelations 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. [2] I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. [4] He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelations 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

The really exciting part for me was when Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom He is going to make a new heaven and earth. Imagine a new heaven and earth without any sin, brand new with no destruction and we each get to start at the beginning in the presence of God. We will have a new and perfect body. Philippians 3:[20] But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. We will recognize our loved ones, we will get to meet people we only read about in history books and the Bible, we will remember what we did on earth and we will have a job to do, the job we were created to do from the beginning. The book goes into detail of what we might expect in our new home John 14:[2] In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. Other questions the book answers are: will we actually rule with Christ, Will there be space and time, will we have the sun, moon, oceans and weather, will we be ourselves, what will our bodies be like, will we eat and drink, what will our daily lives be, who will we meet, will there be animals, will we see our pets again, and so many more questions will be answered.

In the book, Heaven is a section entitled A Word to the Depressed and it reads as follows.
The fact that heaven will be wonderful shouldn’t tempt us to take shortcuts to get there. If you’re depressed, you may imagine your life has no purpose-but you couldn’t be more wrong.

As long as God keeps you here on Earth, it’s exactly where He wants you. He’s preparing you for another world. He knows precisely what He’s doing. Through your suffering, difficulty, and depression, he’s expanding your capacity for eternal joy. Our lives on earth are a training camp to ready us for Heaven.

I know depression can be debilitating. Many godly people have experienced it. But if you are considering taking your own life, recognize this as the devil’s temptation. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). He tells lies because he wants to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8). Don’t listen to the liar. Listen to Jesus, the truth teller (John 8:32; 14:6). Don’t make a terrible ending to your life’s story-finish your God given course on Earth. When He’s done-not before-he’ll take you home in his own time and way. Meanwhile, God has a purpose for you here on this earth. Don’t desert your post.

If you don’t know Jesus, confess your sins and embrace his death and resurrection on your behalf. If you don’t know him, make your daily decisions in light of your destiny. Ask yourself what you can do today, next week, next year, or decades from now to write the best ending to this volume of your life’s story-a story that will continue gloriously in the new universe.

By God’s grace, use the time you have left on the present Earth to store up for yourself treasures on the new earth, to be laid at Christ’s feet for his glory (Revelations 4:10). Then look forward to meeting in Heaven Jesus himself. As well as those touched by your Christ-exalting choices.
Psalm 37:10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.

So why are you still here? Because God is giving you a chance to store up treasures and earn rewards that will last for all eternity.
Ephesians 2: [10] For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1 Peter 2: [12] Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Psalm 62:12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.
Isaiah 49:4 But I said, “I have labored to no purpose;
I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.”

Jeremiah 32: [19] great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve.

Matthew 5: [12] Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Colossians 3 [24] since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Revelations 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

We will only be here on this earth for a little while longer before going home. I remember when my parents would go on vacation and my sister and I stayed home with our grandparents. We couldn’t wait until they came home, because they would bring us back something from their journey. When you get home what will you bring home from your journey to your Father? Will it be something priceless like a life lived for Him, doing His will? I so desperately want to hear my Lord say to me Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

We will get to experience Eden like Adam and Eve, only this time without the sin. When you think about it, it makes sense for God doesn’t make mistakes and so many think that the Garden of Eden was a mistake, because of what Adam and Eve did, but how else could God find those who would truly love and trust Him. He choose those who through the trials and tribulations of this life and the sin of this world still said I trust you Father and thank you for the sacrifice of your Son so that I may call this home with you.