Do you ever just put your head under the pillow because you don’t want to face the bad stuff? With enough disappointment, sadness, fear and confusion, you attempt to control your environment with a full plate of Disney. Reality tries to re-capture your attention but you distract yourself with busy-ness and filter the input. You walk around with a sign… Don’t you dare disturb my happy place. Some even escape with vices that become habit forming and dangerous.
Controlling the Input
I have followed Doug’s lead and have stayed away from social media, watch very little news, and spend idle time with nothing mind bending. My passionate daughter attempts to drag me back into the fray, but my method has definitely improved my mood and ability to cope.
She longs to go Home
This week though, my sweet mama taught me a valuable lesson. She is declining and her chronic pain dominates her small world. But…while on the phone on this occasion, her demeanor shifted as she talked about heaven. Remarkably, her voice was stronger and her conviction unmistakable. She just wants to go home.
Perhaps without realizing it, she has discovered the value of living by Colossians 3:2.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Jesus knows all too well what we must contend with here on earth. And His solution is a command. He knows the critical importance of setting our minds on things above. He knows controlling the input alone is insufficient.
My conversation with mom got me to thinking about heaven. The way I see it, without intention, it’s easy to live as if this life is all there is. Instead, what if we really believed the best was yet to come?
What comes to mind when you think about heaven? Do you imagine an ethereal place with floating angels, harps, white togas, and a never ending church service? Of course I want to go to heaven, because the alternative… no thanks! But a never ending church service sounds awful and I’m a pastors wife.
My mother’s enthusiasm though convinced me I was missing something. My impressions were not only inaccurate but un-motivating. She recommended the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.
We don’t often study heaven or what to expect of eternity. Revelation is daunting and complicated. But given the climate of our world, you don’t have to be an expert on eschatology to sense, that the heat has been turned up. It’s as if our planet’s labor pains are coming closer together.
More than ever… the time is right to set your mind on things above.
What can we expect?
Heaven is where God is. And He made us for Himself. Different species are made for different environments. Humans were made to thrive best with God. You can deny that fact… but you’ll be as successful as a fish living out of water.
A New Body
1 Corinthians 15:35. This passage likens the restoration process of our body to a seed growing into a plant. It’s the same but different. It’s not so different that it’s weird. Instead our body will seem familiar but new. Those who saw the resurrected Jesus, recognized him. He wasn’t floating around. Rather, He was eating and drinking and communicating with visible nail prints on his hands. We too will be recognizable, only restored.
A New Earth
Isaiah 65:17. We can look forward to a perfect and pristine environment, but again, familiar not foreign. The new earth will be real and tangible. Recall the first garden of Eden before the fall? There was love, relationships, conversation, beauty, meaningful work and purpose. There were animals and food and harmony and continual enjoyment. The Bible begins and ends with God and humanity in perfect fellowship on earth.
A New Relationship with God
Revelation 21. We will see Him face to face. Now without sin, all distance, shame and uncertainty is gone. We’ll be overwhelmed with love, acceptance, purpose, clarity, understanding and peace. We’ll live among other sinless Christians (who we will recognize) but the old order has passed away. On the new earth there will be no regret, no bad memories, no failure, no abuse, no anger, no disappointment, no rejection, no racism, no injustice, no fear, no shame, no sickness, no death. Everyone will be significant, secure, fulfilled and completely satisfied FOREVER.
“When we think of Heaven as unearthly, our present lives seem unspiritual, like they don’t matter. When we grasp the reality of the New Earth, our present lives suddenly matter. Conversations with loved ones matter. Work, leisure, creativity, and intellectual stimulation matter. Laughter matters. Service matters. Why? Because they are eternal. Our present life on earth matters not because it’s the only life we have but precisely because it isn’t—it’s the beginning of a life that will continue without end.” Randy Alcorn
There’s no place like HOME
Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy closes her eyes and clicks her glittery red heels? Dorothy got it right! There is no place like home. Home as a term for Heaven isn’t simply a metaphor. It describes an actual physical place of fond familiarity, comfort and refuge. We’ve been led to believe that death is the worst. My mother reminds me that death is only a door and goodbye is not forever.
For now though, we endure the present without escape because we set our minds on things above. Anchored with perspective, we live with urgency and intention because it all matters. The best IS yet to come.
I obviously skirted a ton of content about the end times. Honestly, there is much I don’t understand. But my purpose was to encourage you with two truths.
1. Jesus loves you and wants you to be with Him eternally. It’s time to get your house in order.
2 Peter 3:9,10 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…
2. You can CLOSE on your eternal home today. No appointment necessary. “Lord, I have messed up. I’ve tried and I can’t live life without you. Thank you for your grace that covers it all, no matter what. I look forward to coming HOME.”
John 14:2,3 I am going there to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
If this difficult theology introduces more questions than answers, I encourage you to reach out to me or someone whose theology you trust. It would be my privilege to pray for you as you get your house in order.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke