A few Sundays ago, in the sermon at church, a situation was presented and a question asked so I am going to put the same forth to you since it caught me off guard more than I care to admit. I will warn you, it is somewhat convicting and a thought provoker if you are honest with yourself. Picture whatever you think Heaven is in your mind. Go ahead, really close your eyes, sit and picture it for a few moments.
Beautiful sunshine everywhere, maybe? Streets of gold, happiness and no more suffering, angelic music flowing from everywhere, perhaps. Maybe a 24-hour restaurant serving up all your favorites any time and you never have to worry about too many calories, too much cholesterol or trans fats. Your clothes ALWAYS fit just right. A place where no one is sick or ever dies. You see all the lost loved ones you have missed and have many happy reunions. Maybe even your long lost Fifi and Fido are there to lovingly greet you-and they never have dog breath or hairballs! Most of us can agree that whatever image of Heaven we have in our minds is one of utter perfection and sheer blissful happiness. Now, what if Heaven had ALL those things, and then some (Starbucks flowing from a continuous pump, Coke Zero on tap!!) and you could enjoy them without restriction, but there was one catch. Suppose you were met at the entrance to Heaven by and told "Welcome, good and faithful servant! You made it! Come on in and enjoy your eternal life, but just so you know, Jesus is not here."
How does that compare with Heaven in your mind's eye? When you picture Heaven, IS Jesus there? In EVERY part of that picture? Or is that one of those things you take for granted--"of COURSE He'll be there, duh!" but He never quite makes it into the actual picture you have of Heaven? Maybe He's inside that Starbucks you just cannot see Him right then? Is He off talking with someone else and so you know He's there of course, you just maybe didn't have Him exactly in that particular image? Why is He missing from your picture? Would you be willing to say "No, thanks" to the welcome at the gate and instead say "well, if Jesus isn't there, I don't want to be either"? Is your goal to get to Heaven, or to get to Jesus?
I'd love to hear what you think.
(BTW-If you are not sure if you really care or know if Jesus is there, please feel free to contact me by email, and we can talk about that more specifically than we could in the comments)