Heaven. What does the word mean to you?
When I was five, colourful jungle gyms and sweets were my idea of eternal bliss. Since then, I’ve heard heaven described as a place of hope, with talk about fruit trees and rivers, thrones and light.
In spite of scriptural promises, I’ve noticed that a lot of believers are worried about heaven. To them it sounds boring. Urban. Lonely.
If I were planning a vacation and wanted to be sure I’d love the destination, I’d go online and look at photos, reviews and ratings. But all the people I know who have been to heaven are still there, and there isn’t a website that connects our two worlds – theirs and mine. No star ratings. No photos.
Do you worry about what it will be like?
Have you noticed how the sight of a spectacular sunset thrills us? When did you last dip your toes in a lake, feel warm wind toss your hair around, or dig up soil in the garden? If you’re in frozen Canada, like I am, it’s been a while. So… when was the last time you savoured the winter sun and the pinch of cold air on your cheeks? I’m not changing the subject with these questions. It’s all connected.
In college, I used to love standing on a football field at the top of a hill during thunderstorms (I know – not a good idea). I’d let the rain pelt my face, tilting my head up and reveling in the power of God, who made the earth and sky and wind.
Think of your favourite natural place.
Bring to mind the food you like to savour best.
What song stirs you?
A God who made food to satisfy our cravings and nourish our bodies, who invented singing and sound and who thought up zebra stripes and snail shells and saffron and sugar cane… well, this God can be trusted with our next home. Heaven will be exactly right for you.
The creator of your body and mine, your soul and mine, knows our deepest needs and longings. He delights in caring for His children. He won’t throw us into a horrible, unsuitable, lonely place and call that our Hope and eternal Home any more than you would plan a special day for your five-year-old by making reservations at a fancy French restaurant or for your mother by taking her to a demolition derby (unless she loves that kind of thing!) God knows and cares about us. We can trust Him with our future – here and now, and then and there.
I want to share with you one of my favourite sermon series of all times. A few years ago I was grappling with the existence of God, the reality of heaven and my unsated yearnings for Another Place. Someone I saw every day was dying. These weekly talks came at just the right time. They shocked me and gave me hope.
#2 – Everything New
#5 – Judgment Day