This Side of Heaven

When we cross over the great divide between this world and the next, we lose the chance to bless God’s heart in a specific and powerful way. In heaven we will never be able to offer God our faith again.

Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)” And when we die we will finally be able to see. We will see Jesus. We will be able to see God’s purposes and plans laid out over all of history.  We will join the great crowd of witnesses watching the saints on earth, but we will be able to see. By definition our heavenly sight means we will never be able to offer our faith to God again.

On this side of heaven we walk in the dark, unable to see the spiritual forces at work. When we are in physical or emotional pain the darkness seems to press in. Seasons of waiting on God to answer a fervent prayer, or the months, often years, waiting for a promise to be fulfilled make us feel like a blind person groping in the dark. Disappointment, heartbreak and rejection add density to the darkness. You can almost feel it move through you when you face the question, “How can a good God allow this to happen to me?”

The darkness which comes from pain, disappointment and waiting creates an unique opportunity in all of eternity. In that moment when we cannot see, we can offer God our faith. With a heart that is breaking or a mind wrought in anxiety, we can look up into the darkness and believe. The choice to trust God from right in the middle of our grief, our doubts and our disappointments rises to heaven as a fragrant offering, a special occasion, because the moment is fleeting. We can only offer Him this weak, pain-filled and vulnerable gift when we are in the dark and the darkness will not last.

As the morning sunlight pours through the windows of our churches, it is a delight to raise our hands in corporate praise and worship Him in song. Surrounded by fellow believers with joy permeating the room, faith comes readily. It feels as natural as breathing.

While I’m sure God treasures every expression of faith in the bright light of fellowship and community, I believe He receives the faith we offer Him in the dark, when the ache of heartbreak suffocates us, as a cherished gift. Perhaps it is the noblest act of worship because if you look throughout all of eternity those moments of loneliness and pain, though they may seem to drag on beyond our capacity, are fleeting burdens, rare opportunities to believe in the dark. In light of faith’s limited lifespan, our faith becomes a privilege, a precious offering we can give to God only on this side of heaven.

 

 

Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash.

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