What if you arrived to Heaven only to discover that God had already left the building? Would you care?
There is an immediate emotional response to this question, and perhaps even a hint of anger that it was even asked. But a truthful and more prayerful response is best revealed through a close examination of our actions.
Because isn’t our life accurately described as a relentless effort to try to seek out Heaven on Earth? Don’t we want the very best from our time spent on this planet? With this being the case, would we agree as well that it’s important to have a clear understanding of Heaven in order to pursue it?
We’ve all had those moments in our lives when we find ourselves enjoying a unique slice of luxury. It may be a relaxing time reclining on a white sandy beach, or swinging a club on that picturesque golf course or taking in a spectacular sunset on some island retreat.
Have you ever found yourself during one of those precious times saying or thinking, “This is just like Heaven”?
It seems innocent enough to take pleasure in the joys of life, but where the danger lies is in a false understanding of the true glory of Heaven. Many of us will admit to our hopes for paradise to be something like this:
We’ll be in a great mansion with roads paved of gold. We’ll enjoy unending fellowship with all of our friends and family who have made it to the good side of the tracks. There will be no more mortgage payments, no more hospital visits and we’ll be in a body that is perfect in every way. It’s suburbia perfected.
The problem with this vision is that it’s not Heaven on Earth, it’s a projection of Earth on Heaven. It’s missing the whole point:
The presence of God.
Heaven is Heaven because it is where God will dwell among us in perfect harmony for all eternity.
Looking at Heaven as the ultimate vacation cruise is causing us to slip into the same sinful trap we struggle with here on Planet Earth.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served
created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Here is God’s description of Heaven and notice the reason why there will be no more suffering:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and
the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling
place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will
be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
‘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.”
And will God be some absentee landlord who will visit our mansions every once in a while? Or will he be our provider in Heaven just as he is here on Earth?
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb
will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face,
and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They
will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord
God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
So how do we truly experience heavenly joy? By embracing the daily presence of God in our lives.
It may be those times when we are drifting in the darkest places, and He brings us light. Or when we are depressed and discouraged and then we experience His finger wiping away our tears. In the deep and profound intimacy of these moments, we will see the light pouring through the gates of Heaven and hear the choruses of angelic praise.
What is wonderful about this is that Heaven on Earth is so readily within our grasp. It doesn’t require our stock portfolio to hit, or that we have brilliant retirement strategies, air mileage points or fat bank accounts. It doesn’t mean our lives need to be going along swimmingly.
All we have to do is to call out to Him.
It’s our ticket to paradise. And any other pursuits will cause us to drift, to lose the plot and to miss out on our true opportunity for success in our lives.
Because to know Him, to love him and to serve Him–this is our Heaven on Earth.
Looking for more from Michael K Reynolds? You might also enjoy The Evil of Applesauce?
Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency. He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.