When our senses are heightened we usually experience things in a way we have never experienced before. If you fast for an extended period of time, say for over 24 hours, the first bite of food you take after the fast sends your taste buds into a frenzy. The banana you peel in your hand suddenly becomes a BANANA!!!!!! in your mouth. Well over the past 12 months God has heightened my sense of pain. For over a year now I have dealt with chronic low back pain. And while the pain is miserable, I find myself praising God for the way He has literally opened my eyes to the things unseen by heightening my sense of pain. And I had one of those insights in church on Sunday that I would like to share with you.
In years passed when Psalm 84 has been read, or the worship song "Better is One Day" is sung, I always wrested with it. Sure, it's a honoring thing to say to God, "Lord, I'd rather have the lowest job for one day in your court than spend thousands of days here on earth." But let's be honest, we could all create our own paradise here on earth that would be pretty freaking sweet. And so I always found myself doubting that song and that Scripture verse. Or if I wasn't doubting, I was at least creating an earthly paradise in my head and comparing it to God's Kingdom. A year of pain changes things, though. For the first time in my life on Sunday, I sang the song without a shadow of doubt the ONE day is far better than any time spent here on this earth. Before the pain, I cared little about Christ's return. Before the pain I was comfortable with this life. With the pain I realize that I'm not living for this life...I'm living for the next. But I spent 20 years of my life with no true desire for Christ's return.
And the other day God told me, "Titus, I want you to long for my return...to long for eternity spent with me." After all, isn't that the hope we have in Christ Jesus? We have hope in Christ because He shed His blood so that we might have life everlasting! Don't get used to this life on earth, no matter how enjoyable it may be. Yet today, I see a Christian community that pays no attention to Revelation 21. I see a community that doesn't meditate, imagine, or even dream about life beyond this one we're living. And yet Paul tells us in I Thess. 5:2 "That the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." But how often do we live like this is true? I look back on the days when I thought I could find a paradise on earth that could outmatch a single day as a servant in God's courts...and I realize my tendency to do that was because I never meditated on Christ's return. How foolish I was!!! My friends! Let us long for the day when there is no more pain, no more crying, no more death! Let us rejoice DAILY in the hope that we have! When we do this, then suddenly the way we live our life changes. Suddenly, our lives our filled with purpose and with a calling! As I have transitioned from being comfortable in life to being elated for Christ's return...I have watched how my passion for the Gospel has exponentially increased. And that makes total sense because the Gospel provides HOPE for Christ's return. And if it's this Gospel that is the only way for people to experience that hope and experience a day without pain and suffering where we see Jesus face to face, then of course my passion for Gospel will skyrocket! Along with a greater passion for the Gospel, I have an greater passion for the lost. And who ever said God doesn't use pain? :) So it is my hope and prayer that no believer gets comfortable with this life...and that we all continue to meditate, imagine, and dream about what the next life will be like. Maybe then we'll all become a little more missional.
Eagerly waiting a Return,