Growing up, whenever something bad happened, personally or globally, my dad would say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Not gonna lie- to a teenage mind, that seemed less than desirable. I had things I wanted to do. Dude, maybe the Lord could wait until I had at least been kissed! There was so much good here I wasn’t ready to come to an end. So while I theoretically could pray for Christ’s return, it didn’t impact my heart.
This all changed when my twin sons were stillborn. Then I GOT why my dad talked about heaven like that. How he yearned for heaven. And it wasn’t because I suddenly had something to look forward to with my sons being there. Instead, I really understood what was broken about this world. That I didn’t want to hold on tightly to this world where bodies can break down, medicine can fail, people can die.
I think in general we get distracted from what heaven will be like. We know things like we’ll glorify God all the time, there will be a feast, that sort of thing. But we get sidetracked by the things that we enjoy on earth or look forward to in our lives here. And dude, there are so many things that we enjoy that just aren’t mentioned in the Bible’s description of heaven. I mean, sure, ice cream will be in heaven because of that whole feast thing, but what about playing games with a whole group of friends? How about laughing so hilariously at something your husband did that you smile about it days later? Just not mentioned.
But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be there! In fact, they come directly from there! James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Those things that we enjoy, that give us so much delight, they are from heaven! So you better bet they are going to be there!
But you know what won’t be there? Pain, tears, suffering, death, mourning. Promised to us in Rev 21:4: “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” I can envision something like that! Somewhere that bodies don’t break down. Somewhere we don’t have to say goodbye. Somewhere lessons aren’t learned so painfully. Somewhere relationships are not broken. Somewhere all the stuff that really stinks, that makes our souls ache, is just not there anymore.
Yeah, I see heaven as a place where you get all the ice cream with none of the calories! We’ll have all our good stuff with none of the pain that makes it hard for us to delight in it fully.
Except better. My husband always talks about this discussion of heaven and what will be there kind of like pre-born babies considering what life outside the womb will be. Like how a baby might worry that it won’t be able to suck it’s thumb. Because sucking you thumb is pretty awesome. It feels good to suck your thumb. And you might not want to stop being in the womb if you couldn’t suck your thumb anymore.
What would we tell that pre-born baby? Oh, sure you can suck your thumb. You don’t have to stop. But there is so much more! There is all the enjoyment you were just getting a taste of when you enjoyed sucking your thumb! It gets so much better! You can’t understand all the ways that it will be better, but it really is!
Just like a pre-born baby has no concept of what life outside the womb will be like, we, who are basically pre-born heavenly creatures, have no concept of how good it will be to finally be in heaven! And oh, it’s going to be good! It’s going to be the fulfillment of everything we got a taste of by what we enjoyed in our time on earth!
Do you feel my enthusiasm! As I write this, my eyes are bright with excitement! Almost brimming with tears! My fingers are typing furiously, because I FEEL this! Which reminds me of the great quote from Charles Spurgeon:
Let’s do this! Let’s get a firm grip on heaven!
But why does it matter? We don’t get it now. God has us still on this broken earth filled with pain. Won’t thinking about something so much better make just remind me of how bad it is here?
Nope. Doesn’t really work that way. Because you can endure things differently when you know the great outcome that is waiting. You can endure the pain of running when you know the finish line is just ahead. We need this! Just as slaves sang about their future home to give them strength in their current oppression, we can sing “Just a few more weary days and then I’ll fly away; to a land where joy shall never end, I’ll fly away! I’ll fly away oh Glory, I’ll fly away! When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away!” One of the ways God gives us strength to endure the pain in our lives is by giving us that glimpse of heaven. He uses this sight of heaven to teach us how to walk with Him through pain and suffering! He let us know what the end of the race looks like to give us the energy to take us through! Spoiler alert! It’s really good!
Come, Lord Jesus!