“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
I think about Heaven a lot. So many people whom I love with all my heart are there and I miss them every day.
I wonder what they are doing and if they think about us. I wonder if my brothers are really playing rummy with our dad, the way we say they are. Are they going fishing and is our mom visiting with her wonderful parents whom she had not seen in half a century?
What will Heaven be like? After all, in addition to loved ones in Heaven, there are also uncounted millions of brothers and sisters of all races and tribes whom we have yet to meet. There are “myriads” of angels, and best of all, our wonderful Lord and Savior Himself.
Who would not want to go to Heaven?
My friend Barbara Hardy used to say when she got to Heaven, she was going to ask for a size 10 body.
A pastor friend used to say that in Heaven, he would be able to eat all the lemon ice-box pie he wanted without gaining an ounce.
Joni Aereckson Tada has said that when she gets to Heaven, the first thing she plans to do is ask Jesus to dance. (She’s been a quadriplegic all her adult life.)
Some more serious things I wonder about Heaven include…
Who specifically will be there? So many people are borderline, it seems to me, and I would find it impossible to decide whether they are true believers or not. (I’m eternally grateful it’s not up to me to decide!) I hope everyone is in Heaven, even though I know that’s not going to happen. No one wants anyone to go to hell.
Will we have the option of seeing a replay of our lives here on earth? (And why would we want to?!) The point of allowing us to see the replay would be to show us a) what God was doing behind the scenes, b) how He used the tiniest deeds and words and gifts to achieve His purposes, c) how even the sufferings and pain were instruments in His hand, and d) a thousand other things we cannot even imagine.
Or would He not do that out of love and mercy? It’s impossible to know.
Will we have classes where the apostles fill us in on “the rest of the story?” I’d like that.
Surely, the ministry of our Lord Jesus on earth is the story of the ages, and nothing rivals it in heaven or earth. Wouldn’t we like to have been there, and wouldn’t it be almost as good to hear it from the lips of those who were?
I’ve told how at one of our family reunions in rural Alabama, about 50 or 60 of us sat around a bonfire in the dark (no electricity at the old home place) and talked about an incident from 1951 when an elderly neighbor was murdered one mile up the road. I brought the subject up, and was enthralled as one after another told what they knew of the incident: my dad participated in the Sunday manhunt for the man eventually caught and convicted, mom told of seeing that man the day before walking up the road with the walking stick which turned out to have been the instrument of death, and my brother Glenn told of skipping school to sit in the courtroom and watch the trial. Perhaps Heaven will be a time of sitting around discussing events from Scripture with the actual characters and hearing their stories.
And will there be history classes where the saints of the ages give their personal stories? Oh, sign me up for as many of those as you can!
I want to hear the Lord’s people of the early days, the Middle Ages, from the Black Plague years, those who came through the Inquisition and experienced the Reformation. I’d love to sit at the feet of the godly ones who came through the fires of Hitler’s extermination camps and revel in their stories. I want to hear from Reverend and Mrs. Covell, missionaries to Japan and beheaded by the Japanese soldiers early in World War 2, and from Dr. Bill Wallace, martyred by the Red Chinese around 1950.
I reflect on this and think, “All of this and Jesus too!”
No wonder they call it Heaven.
And through it all, I wonder how eternity will feel.
As a child, I would lie awake at night trying to imagine endless time and limitless space. How could this be? What would that feel like to know time has no end but this just goes on and on and on….? It was almost frightening. The answer of course is that all of this will be on another plane, another dimension perhaps, and the constraints we know here will not be present there.
Imagine trying to explain the operation of computers to an ant. Imagine trying to tell your favorite lapdog how to build a house. Imagine you and me in the presence of the Creator of the vast reaches of the universe.
Just because the ant cannot understand computers, the dog cannot “get” home construction and we cannot imagine being in the presence of God, does not mean this is not so. Some matters are so grand they exceed the capacity of small minds to grasp.
In these and so many spiritual matters, we are stumble along with the understanding of infants. We see through the glass darkly. We do things we do not want to do and fail to do what we should. We throw ourselves on His mercy out of sheer desperation.
Of such celestial matters, the Singer of Israel exclaimed, “This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me; It is lofty; I am unable to reach it” (Psalm 139:6). I know the feeling.
We defer to the Lord Jesus on all things Heavenly.
As He told Nicodemus, “No one has been to Heaven except the One who came from there,” referring to Himself (John 3:13). Jesus is a native of Heaven and thus the Authority on all things celestial.
We defer, as I say, to the Lord Jesus but also to the inspired writers of Scripture, who left us mind-boggling and thought-provoking insights about Heaven….
Heaven is “the Father’s House” which David mentioned (Psalm 23:6) and the Lord Jesus promised (John 14:1-6). That sounds like the soul’s real home, doesn’t it?
Heaven is “the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Every house I’ve ever lived in has been generic, but my heavenly home is a) a kingdom–if you can imagine! and b) prepared with me in mind. That, I confess, is way beyond my poor ability to conceive of.
Heaven is “the city which hath foundations,” promised in Hebrews 11:10 and described in Revelation 21. Heaven knows no vagabonds and has no nomads. Everyone is settled.
Heaven is to be “at home” and “with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9). There are no homeless in glory.
Heaven means “resting from our labors,” with “our works following us” (Revelation 14:13). While Scripture promises “His servants shall serve Him” (Revelation 22:3), this is merely a joyful response to the blessings of the Lord. What a privilege this will be.
Heaven is a land with all new realities, new everything, where nothing is the same and “all things have become new.” (Start with 2 Corinthians 5:17 and end up with Revelation 21:5. In between, pause to consider Matthew 22:30-32, where Jesus says, “In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”) No one in Heaven will live by earthly rules and be bound by manmade regulations. Gloryland has no licensing bureaus, no code enforcement offices, and no department to see that we all obey the rules.
Heaven is the culmination of everything we have hoped for and dreamed of. “We shall know as also we are known” (I Corinthians 13:12) when we shall “see face to face.” “We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:1-3). :We shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52). No one is deformed, unformed, partial or incomplete in Heaven. No one in Glory has self-esteem problems.
Heaven is the end of all the grief and pain we have known in this lifetime. No tears, no pain, no darkness, no wickedness, no devil, no death, and no bullying or competition. (Revelation 21:1-8). There are no counseling services in Heaven.
Heaven is your inheritance for all who are born again. “An inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4). No one can take Heaven away from you. (See Luke 10:20 and John 10:28-29).
Heaven is a place of reward. “You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:14) and “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). No one in Heaven gets the short end of the stick. Gloryland has no complaints department.
Heaven is “a building of God, not made with hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1), in contrast with “our earthly tent.” Comparing the incomparable! No one camps out in Heaven. The fellow who asked the Lord to “build me a cabin in the corner of Gloryland” wanted what God has no intention of giving.
Heaven is a place of music, singing, praise, and harmony as we have never heard it done. “The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps” (Revelation 14:2). “They sang a new song before the throne” (Revelation 14:3). “And they sang the song of Moses…and the song of the Lamb, saying ‘Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty….” (Revelation 15:3). No one is tone-deaf in Heaven. No one “sits this one out.”
I wonder what else is true about heaven but was left unsaid. Clearly, human language throws in the towel and admits that these things are indescribable.
But we still wonder. We cannot help ourselves.
What I do not wonder about however—just so you will know–is whether I’m going. I have the word of the Lord Jesus Christ on that. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
I believe, Lord Jesus.
Now, help me to take as many people with me as possible.
That’s why it’s so necessary to keep reminding people of certain truths: 1) Not everyone is going to Heaven. Oh, that they were! 2) Jesus Christ and He alone is the door–the way, the entrance–to Heaven. We come by Him or we miss Heaven altogether. 3) Entering the door which is the Lord Jesus is a matter of repenting of our sin of self-trust and rebellion, humbling ourselves before Him in prayer, inviting Jesus into our lives as Lord and Master, and then living for Him thereafter.
I worry about people who think because they have just prayed a little prayer they’re going to Heaven. I worry about those who think because they belong to this church or that denomination they are automatically in. I worry about some who have no personal inner witness of God’s Spirit that they are saved but go forward in the blind assurance that they are because some preacher or priest said they were.
Get into the Word of God and read it. Start with the first page of the New Testament and read it all. Then come back to the Gospel of John and camp out there until you’ve read it several times. Obey what you read (see John 13:17). Live for Christ. Serve Him. Get with His people in a Bible-believing church, be baptized, read your Bible and pray.
Do this and upon the authority of the Lord’s Word, I will guarantee you two big things:
1) You will go to Heaven.
2) You will be right at home there.
I wonder if you will start on this journey with us today. And I wonder why anyone would choose to delay.