All this week, I have done a series of musings on heaven. Below I sum up all 5 days very briefly while linking back to each.
1) I know that we as Christians have assurance of our salvation, but the assurance of something and the fulfillment of it are wholly different things. When I first arrive in Heaven, I believe I will spend the first million or so years expressing my thanks and praise and joy just for finally being there.
2) In heaven, I believe Christians will enjoy food, fellowship, and functionality together. Based on my personal reading of Scripture and understanding of God's purposes (inasmuch as I can understand them, anyway), I feel that these facets of life on earth may, in some fashion, transfer to heaven.
3) Heaven may be beyond earth and hell; but will we still see the material universe as we know it? Would we even want to?
4) Some thoughts of heaven outside the usual box: Is it possible that we could encounter beings from other planets, creatures we have never imagined, or moments of reconciliation we did not expect.
5) The Bible itself must be our source for our beliefs and expectations about heaven, and it has much to say. Here are a few things.
All that being said, and it must have been plenty considering it took a whole week, I want to end this series with two verses:
The first I leave as something of a critique against any human ideas about heaven (mine included). We are told in Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth,
But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of men imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'.
The Bible has given us some concepts, but we humans tend to be gap-fillers, and as such we have developed our own expectations about what is coming in heaven. Just so we're all clear, the Bible assures us that heaven is beyond human conception. We cannot put it into a box of what it may or may not include. We cannot demand that it feature this or that. We simply are incapable of knowing how good it truly is.
But let's be honest. Looking toward heaven and imagining what could be there is a joyful exercise. I will certainly admit that. I've dedicated the whole week on the blog to it. But we must not focus on the future at the expense of the present. We have another, more pressing task ahead of us. As Paul told the church in his letter to the Philippians,
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.
Christians, for now, while we are here, let us live in fruitful labor. Let us do good. Let us seek to grow in kindness and mercy. Let us love unabashedly and give radically. Let us labor in such a way as to God and not to earthly pleasures or comforts or even supposed needs. All these will be met by the Lord in his time. Our call is to labor; our rest is to come. To my non-Christian readers, I hope that my sentiments about The Great Destination, a place with God, has been a place in which you're interested--not for its sake but because of God himself. If you have any desire to go to heaven, but you do not know what that means, please e-mail me immediately, and I will gladly dialog with you about this very subject. Your finding this blog was not by happenstance, and your desire to ultimately be by God's side is a powerful longing, one that I would love to discuss with you further.
Thanks all for stopping here more often this week. My hope is that this series has made you more anticipatory for heaven and greater fellowship with God himself. If that was not the result, than I have failed you, but please do not let my shortcomings as a writer deter you from gaining a renewed and joyous hope for heaven and all that it may entail!