I heard about a little girl, who had a picture of her extended family pinned up in her room. Three of the people in the picture had died, and so she crossed them out with a thick black marker. But she hadn’t done it in a gloomy way; she said, “I am so excited for when it’s my turn! I can’t wait to go find them up there!”
I love this little girl’s enthusiasm!! But I can’t say that I often share it.
In fact, just this past Sunday, I was told by my pastor that my attitude about heaven was pathetic. Now, he wasn’t just talking to me. He told our whole congregation (in the nicest possible way!) that we have a pathetic view of life after death.
And I think he’s right.
For those of us who struggle with anxiety because we want to control everything, Jesus gave the following encouragement: He said things in life might get really bad–even for Christians. We might be betrayed by those closest to us. We might be hated by everyone. We might even face death.
But rather than becoming anxious, we are to stand firm, and win life–meaning life after death. Heaven. (Luke 21:16-19)
And that’s when most of us say, “Uh… ok. Great.” And then go back to worrying about our baby’s growth delays. Or the affair our spouse might be having. Or the drugs we caught our teen with. Or the lump we just noticed.
We become steeped in anxiety because we have a pathetic view of life after death. Heaven doesn’t mean anything to us.We don’t treasure it. It doesn’t compel us to endure.
We picture floating on clouds rather than cloudless mountaintop lookouts. We picture endless worship services rather than endless rivers. We picture nothing to do, rather than a weedless, tear-free reality, where we’ll accomplish our best work yet!
Rather thanYOLO, my pastor says it should be YOLT! (You only live twice). And because of that life, this one becomes a little less weighty. A little easier to endure. When we have treasure stored there, it’s a little easier to let go of our treasure here.
Jesus talked about what we treasure before he talked about anxiety, in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 6:19-24) So, we can’t get rid of our anxiety in this abbreviated, fleeting life unless we are treasuring the life to come–like the little girl, with the picture of her family.
I think once we actually see the life Jesus was trying to motivate us with, we’ll share this little girl’s perspective. There is much to anticipate! And the anticipation for that life helps to shrink our anxiety in this life.
PS. Here’s a link to Jeff Manion’s sermon (which is one of my favorites EVER) from this past Sunday at Ada Bible Church. The part I referenced can be found right around 32:00.