I came across an extremely challenging quote from John Piper recently:
“If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”
It made me do some soul-searching, but I came to a surprising conclusion. See, I’m not one of those highly-emotional people when it comes to religion—or much of anything else. Passionate, yes. Emotional, no.
I don’t say, “I love Jesus” (or anyone else) easily. Matter of fact, I usually distrust people who say it easily, almost flippantly. I tend to be analytical about everything, including faith. I’m not even one of those people who is anxious for Jesus to come back. (There’s so much work left to do, so many more people to reach.) Frankly, I figured I’d fail the Piper test.
But as I pondered and dug down deep, I got a shock. For me, not only would it not be heaven without Jesus, it would still be heaven without all that other stuff but with Jesus.
I wouldn’t call it an emotion. It’s not like that. But after all these years spending time with Jesus each morning—and learning to (inconsistently) live in His presence all day—a longing has developed. Not a longing for an emotional event, but for a person. To no longer see Jesus “in a mirror darkly” but to know as I am known. To have the full dose of Jesus’ presence instead of the nibble I get now. And that realization made me feel good.
Not emotional, but good.