In all honesty, however, the longing to be raptured home to heaven imminently does not come easily. There should be a great conflict in the heart of every true Christian. On the one hand there ought to be a genuine longing for Christ to return so that we can see Him at last, fall at His feet, and enjoy the bliss of His presence forevermore. On the other hand, however, there ought to be a passion to win the lost to Christ before it is too late—and that would cause us to want more time in which to fulfill the Great Commission. He, in fact, has delayed His coming for that very reason (2 Peter:3:9). For many people today, however, there is no conflict at all because they no longer believe that departing to be with Christ at any moment in the rapture is even possible, much less something to be desired.
How could we genuinely long for His imminent return if we still had loved ones who were not believers and who would therefore be left behind to be separated from God and from us forever? Christ confronted those who wanted to be is disciples with this very dilemma. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” He told them. “And he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew:10:37). A difficult choice, perhaps, but once made there must be no regrets. In fact, He said we must hate our own lives and abandon everything—nothing must stand in the way of our devotion to Him. Is that too much for the Lord of glory, who gave Himself for us, to ask?
One of the most beautiful Old Testament pictures of the church as the bride of Christ is found in Genesis 24. Abraham’s servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, had claimed Rebekah as Isaac’s bride. As it is with us, however, she had to choose for herself between the husband waiting for her in a far country and the family she would have to leave in order to join him. “Wilt thou go with this man?” her family asked her. And she said, “I will go.”
Such is the choice that confronts us. It is a choice that countless earthly brides have made and not regretted. No less is demanded by our Lord of His heavenly bride.
In contrast to the attitude of the earthly church, however, heaven has become for many in today’s church that place that everyone wants to go to—but not yet. Surely the Bridegroom must grieve over a bride that is so reluctant to join Him in that great heavenly marriage.
Is it not time that the bride of Christ, laying all else aside, became excited about the prospect of seeing and being with her Bridegroom forever? Oh, that a great cry would arise from the church: “We love You, Lord Jesus! Please come and take us home! The Spirit and the bride say, Come! Come, Lord Jesus, come!”