i’ve been thinking a lot about heaven lately.
i have to confess that, when i was a kid, i thought heaven would be kind of boring. people said that you’d be worshipping Jesus day and night, and forever. and while that sounded really cool, to some people, to me it sounded a little bit like…church.
church, all the time. and preaching, all the time. and singing hymns, all the time. and it’s probably because i was twelve and didn’t really understand a whole lot about Scripture and the beauty of hymns and our brokenness, but really…i thought i might get bored in heaven the way i sometimes got bored in church, sitting there listening to another sermon.
i have to confess that i also was afraid of Jesus’ return, because there was more of life i wanted to experience–i wanted to go to high school, and prom, and college, and get married, and have kids, and have a life, and move away from north carolina.
today, i feel a little different about heaven, and Jesus’ return, and all things eschatalogical.
maybe it’s because i understand how broken we all really are. how sin touches and affects and twists everything–my emotions, my body, the land, the atmosphere, relationships, work, even my intentions. everything has been affected, and touched, and tainted, by sin’s power.
we live, and we die. our bodies wear out, and we succumb to death. some people suffer from illnesses. cancer destroys their bodies. other people die instantaneously in car accidents, with one simple blow to the head. we break bones, and develop aches, and wish we were younger. some of us suffer in agony from physical ailments that can never be cured.
my intentions, and feelings, and emotions, are forever affected by the Fall. i worry about what others think. i long for acceptance. i often receive much more than i give in my relationships. i question everything that’s said, and not said.
tragedy strikes people, for what seems to be no reason at all. earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes, and inexplicable loss. and there are goodbyes. people die, and leave this earth. and people leave, and have to say goodbye. and goodbyes, to me, are the hardest. whether it’s for a little while, or for the rest of my life.
i guess in the last few weeks it’s really occurred to me that heaven will be unlike anything i can ever imagine, or any place i’ve ever been. we’ll be different. we’ll be renewed, and transformed. i’ll have a body that won’t grow tired, and bones that won’t break. i won’t be sad, or anxious, or frustrated, or lonely. there will be no more tears and no more parting.
and we’ll be with Christ. the longing, the desperation, the moments where i wonder if he’s really listening in my times of greatest sorrow, even there, and when he seems furthest–in those moments, all of that will pass away in a blink as i look at his wounds, and feel the scars. scars that show the burden and price he paid for me, on the cross. to know that he defeated death, by death. he trampled over death by death, as the song says. and as the jesus storybook bible likes to put it, “everything sad will come untrue.”
i’m looking forward to that day. paul was right when he said that all of creation groans in agony and anticipation (romans 8). i’m waiting for the day when all things are made right, and i am with the Father for….forever.