Tag Archives: new heaven

Walking along a distant shore


In a dream, though neither fully asleep nor fully awake, I find my present age self walking along a distant shore. Colorful seashells littered the sand, some large and grand in appearance, others small and seemingly less significant. Holding each in my hand, I gaze upon empty shells that once were full of life. As I lift each one to my ear I hear the echoes of past memories, part of who I am now and yet also a distant past. Peering into their darkness I’m surprised to see a certain light, sometimes bright and clear and other times shadowy and less distinct – all bearing witness to a life gone by. There’s no going back.

The stones on the beach likewise caught my eye. Some were jagged and rough bearing the scars of stormy waters. But so many of them, so very many, were worn soft and smooth by the continual and gentle washing of the sea of God’s love. As I pick them up, one by one, each bears its own testimony. Piled together they make an altar of remembrance of a life lived sometimes carelessly without serious intent and thankfully, other times lived ever so passionately and vibrantly. The smooth stones and the rough all laid together in a common pile.

A small boat, sufficient for only one passenger at a time, is docked nearby. Approaching it, I place one foot on the boat but keep the other on the dock. At once, I recall how many times I have been in this very same stance, as if paralyzed, wanting on the one hand the security of the shore and on the other the thrill of adventure. But the adventure always, always, begins only when I set both feet, my whole self, into the boat and allow it to be carried by the current of God’s immense and providence mercy.

And so it is is now, my whole self in the boat. And at once the boat is adrift and the shore a distant sight. No “captain of my own destiny,” I am surrendered to the course ahead, set by God himself, who knows and commands the seas. Alone in the boat, I realize why it affords passage for only one, because only one can go at a time to the next distant shore. Already I am overwhelmed by its magnificence. Sights so familiar to the best I visited before, but at the same time so much more colorful and springing with life and beauty. How is it that I am allowed to enter such a land? Only by the grace of God, only by his grace!

I could scarcely take it in when suddenly I found myself on the beach again. But not the distant beach of the future shore, nor the far away shore of the distant past. But now, how could this be, here I am again at the shoreline of my present life! Boulders of troubles remain in my sight,  but also springtime meadows and great, magnificent mountains begging to be climbed.

And people. . . so many people to welcome me and join in their festivities and share also each others woes. People who are alive now, not just memories of who we once knew. People shaped by the currents that have uniquely tumbled them here, along with me. People, God’s gift to us, each a piece of each other’s puzzle, like fragments of great seashells carefully crafted together by the master’s hand.

And so the journey continues, not in a dream, but fully awake – eyes wide open. But this is a journey of intention, not whimsical fancy or mindless distraction. It’s a path of purpose and passion guided by God’s own Spirit, and leading only to him, only to him. Ultimately, the path narrows to single file, where we can only pass one at a time. But for now, however long or short that time may be, we remain together for a common purpose to encourage many more, so many more, to follow in the steps of the ones who leads us, Jesus.

Only Jesus.


Where do you call home? Part 2


Whether you love your life on earth or long for something better. And yet, maye you can’t imagine leaving it. It’s all you know. It’s how God designed us. We long to return to our perfect home in Eden. The good news is, that time is coming when the old earth will pass away and the “new earth” will come down from heaven. It will be in fact heaven on (a perfect) earth. We can’t know everything about heaven but God’s Word has a lot to tell us about it. And it seems scripture indicates the new earth will bear a strong resemblance to the one we love, except without the reign of evil and corruption over our lives.


We’re told it’s a city which implies to me a place of gathering and great celebrations of all kinds. There will be walls and gates of great splendor, but the gates will remain open. Heaven is described as a country which implies borders, rulers, at least one river and trees. Heaven’s inhabitants will have perfect bodies that don’t age or get sick. As Randy Alcorn says in his book, Heaven, “The problem is not that the bible does not tell us much about heaven. It’s that we don’t pay attention to what it tells us.” He adds, “We can only desire what we can imagine.” I wonder, have you been imagining heaven lately?


Some people conjecture that heaven is not a real place. But Jesus says:

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4


Though we measure our lives by years and decades, we’re really here only for a moment compared to our eternal lives that will never end. For believers this is a stopping point on the way to something so much better! It’s hard to grasp how we fit into such an eteranl scheme, but Alcorn suggests it may be helpful to view history in three stages:

“The Past” – when God first created this earth and everything in it, including man and woman. There was a perfect garden where everyone and everything lived in perfect harmony. No curse of sin, no shame or guilt. No death. God walked with his creation and they personally knew his goodness and power and love. There was no famine or scarcity of resources, only abundance wherever you looked. It was paradise on earth. And God revealed his plan for man to rule the earth and fellowship with him. The new heaven will be a lot like that.


“The Present” age starts with man’s decision to trade God’s truth for a lie, a problem that persists in our own lives today. We know the truth God speaks to us and how his ways are so much better than ours, but we believe the lie that we could do better. What was once perfect and incorruptible now became subject to disorder and decay. While life was easy in Eden, life became hard and work became toilsome. We experience shame and guilt and everyone and every living thing dies at some point. Sickness and disease and famine and wars replace peace and enjoyment. Mankind was cut off from the close fellowship once experienced with God. Once satisfied, now we are never fully satisfied.  We enjoy the forgiveness of sin if we accept that gift from Jesus but we continue to wrestle with temptation all our days.


“The Future” is as glorious as The Past for those who love God. Mankind is restored along with the heavenly bodies we are given. Everything is new, refreshed, restored, redeemed! We get to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, reunite with loved ones who’ve gone before us, meet the saints of old, and fellowship directly with Jesus! There will be no more crying, sorrow, or pain, no more death either. No sin. No temptation. No fears, worry, or trouble. We will experience the fullness of God’s greatness as we are restored to perfection. The earth itself and all creation will be restored to fullest beauty and harmony. Evil will be cast away and God’s plan will be accomplished.


Heaven! Can you imagine it?