Heb. 11:13 ¶ These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
It’s really easy to get overly attached to this world. It sometimes seems that this is all there is. But something deep inside of all of us knows there must be more. Is life really just about houses and cars and vacations? Is there more to life than careers and football and even family? In our current world it seems that family holds the pinnacle of importance but is that really all there is? Could it be that there is an unseen world and we are just pilgrims and strangers passing through? The apostle Paul actually said that our true citizenship is in heaven. That means that I am ultimately allegiant to the Kingdom of God above even my earthly country. Jonathan Edwards spoke about the reality of heaven and how that effected everything. Here are some of his thoughts.
“In heaven alone is attainment of our highest good. God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here: better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean.
Therefore, it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end, and proper good, the whole work of our lives; and we should subordinate all the other concerns of life to it. Why should we labor for anything else, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?”
Actually, this is one of my favorite and often quoted quotes. To me, it captures the essence of heaven and the temporary nature of this life. All we experience here is really a shadow of the heavenly experience our heart really longs for. To know Christ is to know life. To taste this life starts our heart down the journey that brings us to the heavenly kingdom. Like the saints that have gone before us, we are just passing through.