Anyway. The question in this instance was very simple, and I actually had an answer for it, though I wasn't quite sure how to deal with it at the time.
why can't we go be with God right now?
do we have to die first?
and if so, why?
doesn't dying hurt?
why can't God just take us to heaven right now?
doesn't he love us?
Yes, he does. He loves us more than any of us can imagine. So why, exactly, does he want us to stay here on earth, in the midst of so much depravity and heartache and just plain stupidity? Why can't he take us to heaven--and since we know he can, technically, why doesn't he? Surely that would be simpler, removing his people permanently from the world?
Instead, we're supposed to live in a world that is not our home, in a place that is ruled by the Prince of the powers of the air, a place where disease and starvation and corruption and sin run rampant, where people kill people and justify it, where children get caught in the middle of armies and armies run roughshod over their people, where we can never hope to escape from the things we know to be wrong. So why? Why is it that God expects us to stay here? Wouldn't our Christian life be more pure if we were removed from all that?
Well, of course. And God could take us to heaven, and we could live with him the moment we believed in Christ. But God doesn't do something--or neglect to do something--just because. There's always a purpose. It may be difficult to see. But there is a reason, and there is one here. I believe it can be found in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 20.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ...An ambassador is a person tasked to take a message for their home country to a foreign one. They are the public face of their nation in the foreign country, the one that brings the two parties together and links them, leads them to a bridge where common ground can be found. To understand just how amazing this task as an ambassador is, and what its purpose for the Christian is, let's look at the verses that come just before.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the message of reconciliation; that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.Through Christ, we have been reconciled to God--which basically means we've become his son in his eyes. We have been given the righteousness of God the Son, have been transformed and converted from the inside out, radically changed from a sin-laden state to a glorious life of freedom. We have been brought into harmony, our debt has been mitigated, God's sense of justice has been appeased, we have been reunited with God. And now, it is our job to be ambassadors, to take the message of reconciliation, of this radical change, to the rest of the world.
Put simply, the reason God has changed us and we are still here on earth is because he's not finished with us yet. We have a purpose. We are supposed to carry a message--the most important message in the universe.
- Kyla Denae
full disclosure: 99% of this post was inspired by a missionary to Alaska, Bro. Carter, who came through our church last night and preached on this passage. It was amazing, and I wanted to share. So there's that.