How often do you think about heaven? Often, occassionally, rarely? I’ve been thinking about heaven more and more over the past three years, and more so in recent months. It seems to me there are things “I know,” things I’ve “forgotten” and other great and wonderful mysteries that yet remain to be revealed.
It seems likely that people of all nations and cultures have dreamt of some sort of a life after earth. While our views of heaven may differ, typically we all view heaven as a place of great happiness, satisfaction, and reward. And while most of us might tend to consider heaven as some unknown and distant land, the Bible consistently refers to heaven as our true home, our “native land,” the place where we belong and were meant to be.
Furthermore, unless we are raptured, we all share a 100% mortality rate. We ought to be prepared! Some of us will have advance notice of the event with disease or other failing condition announcing the impending event. For many others, the moment we step from this life on earth to the next step in our eternal realm, will come quite suddenly and unexpectedly. It seems only prudent that we should think about and plan for that time and place when we will truly be home. I’m certainly not proposing that heaven is everyone’s eternal reward. God is quite clear in distinguishing between those who love and obey him and thus inherit heaven, and those who prefer to “have it my way” and either ignore or actively rebel against God’s plans, who will choose themselves a devastating place for all eternity. (The thought of death should be quite fearful for them but that’s a subject for other writings.) But for now, our focus is on heaven, the true home for those who love God and believe in his Son Jesus.
I’m reading Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven these days and look forward to sharing my reflections on his extensive studies with you. More so, I hope these writings will stimulate your own appetite to think and live in an increasingly heavenly minded way. But how should we approach the subject of heaven, this real place with houses and rooms where we will be “at home with the Lord?” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7, John 14:2)
To me, it makes sense that we hold up whatever preconceived notions and fanciful thoughts we have about heaven against what the scripture says. After all, isn’t this the approach you take in your search for truth in any situation? If you believe, as do I, that the Bible is God’s true and infallible word, then it only makes sense to examine what God has to say about heaven and to let his thoughts guide us in our thinking about and preparing for our eternal home.
I say this because it is quite easy to ignore heaven and simply throw ourselves into the depths of our earthly existence. In fact, chances are you have a whole list of things pulling at your attention right now that threaten to keep you from living a heavenly minded life.
Alcorn retells the story of world renowned swimmer Florence Chadwick, who in 1952 attempted to swim the 26 mile distance between Catalina Island and the California coast. Her quest was a difficult one, looking out for sharks, battling fatigue, and then finally a thick fog that set in, preventing her from seeing the shore ahead of her. Exhausted and frustrated, she gave up and asked to be brought into a nearby guide boat. To her dismay, she discovered she was only a mile from the shore. She said had she known how close she was, she surely would have completed her journey successfully (which she did later that year).
What conditions bring a “thick fog” to settle around us, keeping us from seeing how very close we are to our heavenly shore? Let’s persevere and not give up. Rather, let’s set our minds “on things above,” (Colossians 3:2) and start to live our life in view of heaven’s shore. Maybe a practical way to begin, is to ask yourself about any frustration you currently face, “Does this really matter in the light of heaven?5