Heaven. And the Muscle of Hope.

((from Natalie))

Do you ever think about your own death?
Perhaps it’s morbid, but I do.

It’s coming, right?  Everyone gets their turn. So, why not?

Since I was a kid, the creative side of my mind has enjoyed pondering my soul’s journey from this place to the next. Over time, my dreams and wonderings of the momentous occasion have evolved. The winged adventure through clouds that I pictured in childhood has changed. The older I get, and the more I consider the trip from Earth to Paradise, the more exciting and imaginative the adventure becomes. Admittedly, the imagery in my mind is now likely heavily influenced by one of my favorite films “What Dreams May Come.” In the film, the lead character, played by Robin Williams, enters into a Heaven composed by his imagination; one that resembles the world created in his wife’s paintings.

When I imagine my spirit racing though the cosmos, it is splendid with color more intense and vivid than any beheld in the vision of my Earthen consciousness. I imagine soaring to a rich soundtrack of booming chorus set to the strumming of mysterious instruments. I picture running towards a bright light. I imagine chasing after the swish of my late daughter’s ponytail as she leads me on a sprint towards Heaven’s gate.  I picture a journey across an open field, lush and breezy…  I picture recognizing my beloveds from a distance… I see them running towards me like the Father does toward his prodigal. I conjure up a reunion embrace folding me into the citizenship of Heaven. I ponder the experience of sharing in God’s glory.

What I believe I’m doing (when my imagination takes flight into a Heavenword journey), is exercising my hope. I want and need for my hope to be strong enough to carry me in my living days here, so I treat hope like a muscle.  My daydreams of the spirits ascension are one way to exercise the muscle of hope.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” Colossians 3: 1-4

The more I think about it, the less afraid I am.  If my mind marinates in the hope of Heaven, my heart softens to the saving love of Christ.

Have you spent some time there, exercising your hope in the thoughts of heaven?  I encourage you to take some time now to do that very thing. I don’t think you need to have the flair for fantasy or drama (like my imagination does) in order to do so.

Sometimes, I do something simpler in my mind.  I consider myself the thief.  I put my body up on a cross next to Jesus (as described in Luke 23). Aware of my wrongs, knowing I deserve punishment and sorrowful that the innocent Jesus hangs next to me.  I ask Him, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  

Trading my fear for His love, I let his response seep deep into my soul “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

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