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Longing for Heaven

This phrase has been coming to the surface of my thoughts over and over this week, after listening to a podcast episode from Focus on the Family, a broadcast I grew up listening to and have recently returned to and been encouraged by as an adult. You can listen to U.S. Senator Tim Scott's interview here, it's compelling.

"...filling our lives in a way that reflects Heaven. If we do that here on earth, it's hard to hate up close, it's hard to hate what you know. And if we are going to be excited about our future, if we are going to overcome the murder of George Floyd, and if we're going to rebuke the violent protestors that have nothing to do with George Floyd, and everything to do with selfishness..."

--U.S. Senator Tim Scott

It's been a heavy few weeks, watching and listening, grieving and confused. What do we do? Where do we go with our thoughts as we watch the #blacklivesmatter movement unfold and the pain ripple from our neighbourhoods and our streets into our homes and the homes around us?

First, we start with truth. Racism is to be abhorred, always. We have to be hating what God hates, this much is clear. And it's abhorrent because our black brothers and sisters are precious, made in God's image, and this is true every day and in every situation. And because they are made in God's image, and God has called his creation good, we are to wholeheartedly treasure our brothers and sisters.

Genesis 1:31 "Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!".

But then what? What do we do in light of this egregious nature of racism?

we weep

we pray

we love

we look to the Lamb

we long for Heaven

We weep with those who weep, as Jesus does.

We pray. We pray for God to open our eyes. Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life". We go to God, falling on our knees for the things we know and don't know. And we can press in close, trusting that the gospel will illuminate the dark places, and God will finish the work He has begun. He has promised us this in Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns".

We love. It's God's heart for us to love our neighbour, regardless of the colour of their skin, as we see in Matthew 22:37-39, "Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbour as yourself". And what does this mean practically? It can mean listening instead of talking, intentionally asking questions instead of talking, and as Senator Tim Scott says in the podcast mentioned above, we continue to break bread with our black brothers and sisters. We learn to love in community, up close, even when and perhaps especially when it gets messy.

Finally, we look to the Lamb as we long for Heaven.

Revelation 7:9-10

"After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, 'Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb".

I did a study on Revelation a few years ago, and I remember coming to the end of the study just in awe and with tears and trembling in anticipation of what God has planned. How necessary it is for us to ruminate in God's Word and put our hope in the Lamb as chaos breaks out around us and in us. The leader of that study encouraged me more than she will ever know, because she went deep into God's Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit, pointed me back to the Lamb, to Jesus, who is our greatest hope as we long for Heaven.


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