“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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
As I write this blog entry my mother lay at St. Mary’s hospital waiting to draw her last breath. She had a massive stroke two days ago and is not expected to live much longer. My mother was the example of grace and integrity to me. She lived a life of sacrifice and virtue, despite whatever the circumstances were. She knew Jesus and loved Him fiercely. After I write this I will go up to the hospital to see her leave this life. I love her more than words can say and am proud to be her son. I have cried more in the past few days than I have my entire life.
So why am I sharing this? Because this is what heaven is like; intensely personal and almost uncomfortably intimate. Professor Dr. Michael Witmer said, “Heaven is all about Jesus, everything else is second.” Jesus has a custom-made plan for you. You see, He knows you better than you do. He knows your fears and failures and will redeem your problems in a way that is “incredibly more than you can think or imagine” (Eph 3:20).It starts with knowing Jesus. It’s all about Him.
But what will we do all day in Heaven? Randy Alcorn wrote an incredible book on this subject and simply called it, “Heaven.” He goes through Scripture to show that heaven will actually be on this earth, not off in the clouds somewhere. You see, God will redeem (which means to ‘buy back’ or ‘recover’) this earth. Right now, the earth is “groaning” under the curse of sin (Roman 8:22). When God redeems this place it will be “like” the world we see outside our window but will be much better.
Try to imagine life without decay, death, or sunburns. Try to think of life without violence, jealousy, or the threat of terrorism. Wouldn’t it be great to see lions play with little children as a large friendly cat? Or how about having bodies that simply won’t die but only grow stronger with age. There will be countries, jobs, possessions and even pets. And Jesus will be there. He will be giving a generous portion of hugs to each of us. He will have time to sit down with us and talk about life, face to face. And of course we will see our loved ones who made it there before us.
Randy Alcorn writes, “All our lives we’ve been dreaming of the New Earth. Whenever we see beauty in water, wind, flower, deer, man, woman, or child, we catch at glimpse of Heaven. Just like the Garden of Eden, the New Earth will be a place of sensory delight, breathtaking beauty, satisfying relationships, and personal joy.” (Heaven p 233).
The only good way to picture heaven, in my opinion, is through imagination. We catch glimpses of it here but just that, only glimpses. C. S. Lewis wrote a wonderful book on this subject called “The Last Battle,” the last in the Chronicles of Narnia book series. In the story terrible things happen as many of the creatures of Narnia are enslaved by an evil master pretending to be “Aslan,” the good king. But the world ends and the heroes find themselves thrust into a new place, unknown to them. “It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: “I have come home at last. This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it until now. The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!” (Lewis, The Last Battle p 196).
My mother is about to embark on the greatest adventure of her life. This is not the end, this is the beginning. My family will morn her loss, but this loss is temporary. I like what D.L. Moody (the great evangelist) said on his deathbed, “Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.”
Discuss: What ideas come to your mind when you think about heaven? Where do these ideas come from?
Pray: Pray that you will be understand the ‘end game’ Jesus has for you. Pray that you see clearly how much he loves you and wants to give you wonderful things.
Act: Find out more about Heaven, just go to the right resources: the Bible and good Christian writers. Talk with your small group about why understanding Heaven accurately is so important to your daily walk with Him.