It’s not Heaven that holds us to a standard we can’t possibly reach – it’s the world. Heaven, though a lofty place, offers us access, immediate and unconditional access, through our belief. It isn’t Heaven that keeps moving the bar a little higher. It’s us. It’s our employers or our culture or our church or our parents or our peers or our spouses or our siblings or our children or our selves. Whoever and whatever it is, it’s not Heaven. And that’s where we get all mixed up.
We think an obstacle is a punishment because we aren’t “good enough” instead of seeing it as an opportunity to watch the divine work in our life to overcome the world. We worry and beg God for what God is already offering us, openly. We want peace and love and hope and joy and mercy and comfort and grace. We want provision and proof that we are loved and that we are cared for and that we are accepted. We seek and plead for those things and those things are already ours and yet, so often, we can’t see them or tap into them.
But it is not Heaven that withholds those things from us, dangling them before us until we can get it right. It is the world that blocks the way. It is thinking the way the world thinks that wrecks our hearts and minds and eyes so that we can’t see what is right before us. The desires of our flesh are not always dark and sinister upfront. Sometimes, upfront, they are innocent and well-intentioned, but they can still be keeping us from really seeing Heaven at work all around us. In fact, these are the things that dig in, take root, and become the our biggest obstacles. Like sometimes we forget that regularly indulging in things like worry or pride can hold us back more than a moment of weakness related to sex or substances. The obvious sins are the ones we most easily repent and can most readily avoid when we decide to. It’s often the “acceptable” misuses of our hearts and minds like the glorification of striving and of self-sufficiency that trip us up the most out here in the real world.
We buy the ideas we’re sold. Maybe we don’t buy them all. We renounce a few. The ones that really stand out as “wrong”, but there are plenty that we let slip in. And we justify them. We find the right verses, the right leaders, the right defenses. We make our religious convictions line up with an “appropriate and acceptable” life out here and we are missing it. We are missing the power of Heaven on earth. We are missing what it would be like to really live with divinity actively coursing over us and through us.
When truly, our life should be torn down to the ground and rebuilt with faith and faith alone. And sometimes, when we don’t know why our worlds keep falling apart, maybe we can believe that especially in those needy moments that Heaven is calling us closer, drawing us in and encouraging us to cling to the hope of Heaven, and regardless of what we believe about the purpose of things we can maybe believe that in every moment of brokenness there is a heavenly offering of an opportunity to really summon the divine and really experience the Spirit in our lives. And living like that, on faith, we should probably look and sound a little crazy. Our faith should radically change the way we interact with the world (even the religious world). And that should maybe make some people a little uncomfortable if they aren’t living the same (and maybe even if they are).
But that can’t become an idol (to be called crazy and to make people uncomfortable does not inherently mean you are “doing it right”) and it shouldn’t build a wall. It shouldn’t draw a line in the sand – an “us” and “them”. It shouldn’t point a finger or build a pedestal from which we can observe and shake our heads at those who “don’t get it”.
It should keep us on the ground, hands dirty and hearts broken, constantly crying out to Heaven, constantly needing God and constantly finding the miracles of provision and peace and joy and hope and love and grace and mercy and comfort in the midst of the mess. That is Heaven come down to us. That is communion with the Holy Spirit. That is living like Christ. To be broken, in the thick of it, and to be just fine, to know all is well. To rely not on the promises of the world and the false security it offers, but on the supernatural, the divine. To know that we are already chosen, redeemed, good enough, beautiful, healed, treasured, cherished, forgiven, loved and held by the Most High. To know that all our missteps are not enough to separate us from the love of Christ and in fact are already covered and so, we are free and there is divine, supernatural power in that freedom. We are free to live and to love and to feel and to be human. We are free to fail and free to try and free to rest. We are free to give and free to forget and free to come back over and over and over. We are loved and we are enough and we are free.
That is what the world wants us to forget and it will use any and all means necessary to create a divide. But this is what Heaven wants us to remember – the divide has already been crossed for us. All we have to do is believe it.