On Heaven

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One of the most interesting and talked about subjects in American culture is the “afterlife,” specifically heaven. Who goes, who doesn’t, and what is it like? Sadly there are many misunderstandings, outright lies, or shallow ideas about heaven as book after book is pumped out on the subject (there are, however, good books as well). In America, we really seem to be infatuated with heaven (to some degree or another), but don’t really know what it will be like despite the constant discussion on the matter.

I’m not claiming to be an authority, but I have long felt compelled to write down thoughts I’ve had about heaven (although I prefer the term “new heavens and new earth,” since the whole cosmos is redeemed, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll just say heaven). My goal is not to create an exhaustive study on the subject and answer all questions, but instead to widen our gaze and increase our awe of it. I don’t believe the problem stems from talking too much about heaven, but rather from not doing it justice when we do.

So what is heaven like, really? Or rather, what should we think about the new creation? Let me answer this by asking a series of questions.

  • Do you feel anxiety? Fear? Insecurity? Depression? What if heaven didn’t exist? What would your thinking or feelings be like if it didn’t? Honestly ponder that thought. Do you ever feel rage at the evil in the world? At the injustice that exists both personally and collectively? What if you never had to see that again? What would that do to your temperament?
  • Have you ever felt heartbroken? What if it was mended? What if instead it was replaced by unconditional acceptance and complete and infinite feeling of being loved? The kind of love you feel down to your core. How would you breathe or walk with these things gone?
  • What if you were surrounded by beauty? The kind of beauty that never ends, beauty you can enjoy and take part in.
  • What if the whole cosmos was not an off limit mystery but instead a canvas for glory or a playground for eternal children?
  • Have you ever had a summer night that you wish wouldn’t end? What if it didn’t?
  • What if joy simply grew and grew, wave upon wave? What if instead of loneliness you felt belonging surrounded by glorious eternal beings all connected by one truth? All reflecting glory in unity and laughter?
  • Are you tired or sick? What if your illness or exhaustion was gone? What if you could run through the plains like a reckless child again?
  • What if you saw Jesus your God? And all you ever truly desired but couldn’t voice¬†was found in his first glance and words to you? Completely fulfilled, completely known. All emotion and motive, naked and vulnerable, with no judgement. All shame and guilt for mistakes or regret replaced by infinite peace.
  • What if you were surrounded by a glorious city of gates and spires eclipsing the horizon, seeing colors in ways you could never paint and sounds you could never fully register?

As you answer these questions, maybe you see in your heart the answer to my question, “what’s heaven like?” As Christians, I want us to dream again, to wonder and to be in awe. To look at not just heaven but God and still be brought to our knees by the majesty. To be enthralled by what our future will be like in Christ. Can you picture it?

Peace be with you.

Servant Of God. Son of an immigrant. Husband of Jess. Dad of Maverick. Fan of C.S. Lewis, Scotch, and kickboxing.