"Daddy, why must I come when you call?"
"Because I wish it."
Okay, before I get to the point I want to take a few meandering trails that all lead back to this, so pardon me as I come to the conclusion from several different directions.
Is Heaven What We Think It Is?
There is the general idea that heaven is an eternal place of getting to do what you want to do. Total, absolute freedom to pursue your own will.
But if it is total freedom then it is still not quite what we as Americans think of as total freedom.
Why Are Christians Here?
As a kid, I wondered why God didn't come right after the Cross. If, after all, it was finished, why keep us in this world of torturous sin and confusion? Why not just start the world over and bring into this new heaven and earth all those who accepted the cross without having to go through the sin? Many Protestants don't get the whole point of life after the Cross. I mean, once we're saved? If we were predestined?
In any case, God KNEW who was going to accept Him? So, then why are we here?
What if we are here on this earth to learn to love heaven? What if heaven doesn't really look that good to eyes clouded by original sin? What if heaven isn't what we think it is? And God is taking those who love Him through a process of changing us internally so that we WILL choose heaven, for those who do not love Him will surely hate heaven and find hell much more to their liking than an eternity with God.
Stages of Christian Development
First we learn to obey our parents, because they say so. We are in a sense, forced to trust them because they are bigger than us and can do what we can't do and we will die without them. This is a vital beginning point to understanding heaven.
The second stages would be that once we begin to reason, we want to know why. This is good. We demand answers that are logical to us. We begin doing certain right things that are personally sacrificial because they are logical. Then, as we mature, we do right things because they are an honorable duty and bring to us a sense of virtue by doing them.
These are good stages, but they are not complete. There is a final stage that we must come to in order to be prepared to enjoy heaven. It requires these stages as a foundation. We get a glimpse of this stage, in some instances, through marriage.
The final stage is when we trust someone so implicitly, we have walked with them and been in the foxhole of life with them, that we do not expect a logical response when asked to do something. We respond to their request with an utter sense of love. It goes beyond nobility and honor, beyond duty and a sense of virtue. We act out of total love.
That is where God is taking us in this life. That is the purpose of the Christian walk here and now-- To walk so closely with God that to obey Him is our greatest desire because our union with Him is love.
Perhaps you have discovered this with your spouse. After thirty years of marriage, your husband looks over at you and asks you to go with him on a weekend away hunting. Even though you hate hunting, and it's cold and it would be the last thing on earth you would choose, you go.
You lean over to your husband and say, "Why do you wish me to come?"
And he smiles and says, "Because I wish it."
There is nothing more that needs to be said. Your years of love have brought both of you to a place where you know your husband would never hurt you or ask you to do something you would despise. Your relationship has gone past blind obedience, or logic or honor or duty.
You know somehow your husband will keep you warm with something he has concocted in his plans. And you go, you obey his wish, just because he wishes it. For that wish is based in love for you and your answer is based in love for him.
Because I Wish It
To say that God wants us to come full circle back to a child's expectation of doing something just because daddy said so, doesn't really express what happens. While some theological discoveries just seem to recycle in our experience, it doesn't mean we go back to where we once were. Wisdom is like a theological spiral reaching up to the heavens, each time you come back to where you were before you are so much higher and can see so much more. Even the simplest of thoughts grow excitingly new and complex as we journey through the Kingdom of God.
God gave us parents to obey, that we would learn obedience to Him. It is the most simple of matters. When you are too small to reason, obedience is simply because your parent tells you to. From our young perspective, we cannot see how it is for our good, only that it is what our parents wish. It is their arbitrary choice for us to obey them. But eventually, God says that same thing to us. We obey Him simply because He wishes it.
That is what Heaven is going to be like. We will not demand answers of God. He will not give us explanations of why. He will ask the questions, like He did with Job. "Where were you when I was creating the fountains of the deep?" God expects total obedience and He expects us to come to a place where we accept what He demands without explanation. In heaven, we will just know, because we know, because we know Him. We know He is good and that is enough.
Heaven is an eternity of loving obedience to God. That is why we are here now and not in heaven. We are to be developing that loving trust. Then, and only then-- when our wills are perfectly aligned with His that His desire is our pleasure, obedience is our joy and peace--will we choose heaven.
Heaven WILL be total freedom, for our choices will be His choices. Unity with Him will be supernatural freedom.
We are learning that type of love now:
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. I John 4: 20
Do you wish an eternity of obedience to God? Does that idea sound marvelous in your heart?
Our hearts naturally reject this, for we thought heaven was an eternity of getting to do what we wanted, not what God wanted. Yikes. All of a sudden, just how much you love God is made clear.
Fear not, this love and trust of God will come if you continue giving your will to God now. Obey Him now and it will become habit. Then, as He floods you with grace and glory, you will suddenly, surprisingly begin obeying from trust. And then love. As you open yourself up in obedience, His love pours into you, breathing life into you, awakening that perfect love that sin marred. It is HIS power, His glory given freely to you. All you must do is make Him Lord of your life and humbly obey.
I'm not saying it's easy. Your part stings at times and even feels like an act of sheer will. But keep praying and staying close to Him and His love IN YOU will come through that journey of faith with God.
God bless you all.