I think about Heaven often these days. When I stand in that cemetery next to the grave of my wife and my parents, I consciously reach for hope and Heaven. Much of we think we know about Heaven are just from our imagination, from movies, or pop songs; and they are wrong because they are projections of what we know in this world. Here is what I do know from the inspired Word – God has prepared a whole new, wonderful existence for those who are ‘in Christ’ without pain, endings, sin, or grief. Before you start to form a picture of people in robes, strumming harps, and floating around on clouds, read on.
Kevin Miller illustrates the difficulty that we have grasping the joy of Heaven in this way.
“Let’s imagine that I tell my four-year-old son, “Andrew, when you grow up, if you get married, your honeymoon will be one of the most delightful and wonderful times of your life.”
He says, “Oh, you mean I can take my toy dinosaurs along?”
“Uh, no . . . you probably won’t want to. But you’ll still have a fantastic time.”
“Well, can Jeffrey from next door come along on my honeymoon?”
“No, sorry,” I tell him.
“I don’t know if I want to go on a honeymoon, Daddy. It doesn’t sound like any fun.”
“Trust me, Andrew: you will enjoy it, even though you can’t understand it right now.”
Heaven will give us incredible joy—but at a higher, richer level than we’ve ever experienced. It’s natural not to understand it all now.” Discipleship Journal : Issue 57. 1999
Just as a 4 year old cannot imagine a honeymoon, Heaven defies our understanding. Even if the Lord tried to explain it all to us, we just wouldn’t get it. The writers of Scripture saw visions and tried describe what they saw using the language and images that were available. Isaiah, Zechariah, and John tell us about amazing creatures that circle a Throne, about smoke, and seas of glass. We must not doubt their word, but we are wise to understand that they are using earthly language to tell us about a completely unearthly place! If we force the metaphors too literally, we may miss the true wonder of what God has planned for our eternal home.
What do we know about Heaven that brings us hope and keeps us on track while we wait to go there?
God is there!
The God we’ve loved from a distance, Whose purposes and plans sometimes confuse us, Who actions are beyond our figuring out, will be our Friend, will be accessible, and we will worship Him “face to face.” John attempts to show us the wonder of that moment and says, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4, NLT)
The beauty of it is beyond imagination.
John talks about dazzling splendor, streets of gold, and pearly gates! How do you describe things for which there are no words? God is the Builder, the Architect, of the place where I will spend eternity. When I see beauty in rose, the display of colors in a bird’s plumage, the intricacy of the design of my eye – and remember that He did all this and so much more for my temporary home; I get enthused about living in that forever home He’s prepared for His people.
All things are made new- no rust, no death, no sin!
“And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5, NLT) Everything we know is subject to decay and all living things ultimately die. New things deteriorate. Babies grow into aged people. Shiny things become dull. Heaven knows no time, no depreciation, no aging. Jesus urges us to “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy…” (Matthew 6:20, NLT)
Joy will be complete!
Life’s happiest moments always end. No, I am not being a pessimist. It is simply the truth. The joy of a baby’s birth also carries the knowledge of mortality. A wonderful relationship is ended by relocation. Heaven knows nothing of that kind of thing. There only joy reigns. There no ends are anticipated, no sorrow invades, no disappointment lurks in the shadows.
The BIG question is this – are you prepared for Heaven?
You will not enter because you are good enough, joined a church, or were a ‘nice’ person. We are saved by grace through faith – period. I am going to Heaven because of Who I know, not because of what I have done. Christ died to save sinners. In Him this is our promise: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34, NLT)\
Do not lose sight of Heaven.
The promise keeps us on track when the Enemy tempts us with sin.
Heaven’s promise gives us hope when life’s challenges rise up and seem ready to crush us.
And, Heaven is our inheritance.
Here is a word from the Word. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3, NIV)
I believe it, do you?