HOPE OF HEAVEN
Do you ever find yourself longing for heaven? For so many of us, heaven is that ultimate hope that we long for and anticipate. It points to a day when we will arrive at that final destination “where everything will be as it was meant to be.” The reality is that this is the way God designed for it to be all along…starting all the way back at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. Praise God, for He has made amazing provisions to, once again, restore this to us through Christ! I am so thankful for that because, let’s be honest, life is hard! Don’t get me wrong… life indeed is a gift and it contains some great joys and privileges: relationships, opportunities, experiences, places to see and enjoy, various things to engage our senses, natural wonders to behold. And indeed, these are all special gifts from God. But I think we would all agree that there are some days when heaven can’t come quick enough!
At some point, we all long for a day when there will be no more tears, no more shame, no more struggle, no more anxious thoughts, no more loneliness, no more “walking through the valley of the shadow of death,” no cancer, no depression, no violence, no injustice, etc. And one day these things will be replaced by the brightness of God’s glory and the wonders of His grace, and the incredible joy that will come when we are living in the fullness of life that He intended for us to live in.
As the old Irish hymn-writer Thomas Moore stated, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.” And if this is the case, then we would do ourselves some great good by dwelling on this amazing place that God has prepared for those who love Him!
Now, I have to admit that I don’t have the ability to do heaven justice. I’m overwhelmed by that task, actually! It’s not that God’s Word doesn’t have a lot to say about heaven. Indeed, it does! And even with the various accounts in Scripture that we’ve been given—the Psalms, the words of the ancient prophets, the pictures we see in the book of Revelation, the words of Paul the Apostle, and the very words of Jesus himself—it’s still challenging to decipher how the whole picture fits together. It’s as if you’re putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle that’s missing some of the pieces! We get glimpses of different parts of the picture, but we don’t see the entire thing. And I kind of wonder if that’s exactly where God wants us to be… understanding enough of the truth of what He has in store for us, but still leaving room for anticipation, keeping us wondering yet still hopeful, keeping us awed by the mysteries that will one day be fully revealed. Even the Apostle Paul, who was given a vision of the glories of heaven firsthand, came back saying, “I saw and heard inexpressible things… I don’t even want to try to describe it because I will not do it justice! But what I can tell you is this: no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him!” (2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Cor. 2:9)
It’s those kind of words that should cause us to long for heaven all the more, prompting us to “seek and find” (and keep seeking and finding) in order to understand all we can about this incredible place, and even more so understanding Jesus Christ, who serves as the designer, gateway, and centerpiece of it all. Yes, “Christ in [us], the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27)
Indeed, He is the creator and sustainer of all things. He holds it all together by the power of his word. He is the Designer of heaven itself, he is the Gateway through which we access it, and his glory is the Centerpiece that brings light and life to everything within it!
We were all made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place. Heaven will not be an idol that competes with God, but a lens through which we see, and know, and experience Him more fully.
So, in light of these things, may we live with the Hope of Heaven pressed into our hearts and minds! May people see a reflection of Jesus in us. May we treat other believers like the eternal family that they truly are. And, may we trust God as we walk through this present life, knowing that we look forward to a Day of Resurrection where we will forever enjoy the glories, and the wonders, and beauties of Christ within the context of heaven itself.
I hope you can be encouraged by these truths today. Let them serve as a prompt and motivation to “press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called [you] heavenwards in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Hang in there, keep trusting the Lord, and have a great day!