Paul was thankful for his life, his calling, his ministry. I believe he loved God’s people with a passion. But throughout his years of ministry, Paul’s continual desire was to go home and be with the Lord. His heart was simply anxious to be there.
The apostle Paul refers to heaven when he speaks of being taken up into paradise. He says he saw and heard things there that so staggered his mind he had no language to describe it. You get the idea from Paul’s description that, even if he could explain what he saw, our human minds couldn’t comprehend it.
The Bible tells us that in heaven we will rule with the Lord as “kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). We’re going to act as his servants there and “shall serve him” (22:3).
Paul exults, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Many Christians quote this verse daily, applying it to their trials and tribulations. Yet the context in which Paul speaks it suggests a deeper meaning. Just two verses earlier, Paul states, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (15:54–55).
Paul was speaking eloquently about his longing for heaven. He wrote, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1–2, my italics).
The apostle then adds, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (5:8).
According to Paul, heaven — being in the Lord’s presence for all eternity — is something we are to desire with all our hearts.
Dear saint, make heaven your earnest desire. Jesus is coming for those who long to be with him there!