Let’s you and I pretend that we are somewhere cozy sharing a cup of coffee. I would probably bring my own creamer, or ask what sugar-free syrups the coffee shop has. You would order anything, on the house. And then we would sit down together to chat the nitty gritty of life.
During this conversation, we would dive deep into all the unanswered questions, I’m sure. Although I know for certain we wouldn’t answer them, we would still get the chance to look into each other’s eyes and wonder aloud. And I would share with you that one of my biggest pet peeves is not being “allowed” to have an opinion in big things like heaven and hell and the Trinity and the inerrancy of Scripture because I don’t have a background in theology, so therefore I don’t understand the cultural context. I would explain that of course cultural context is important and needed to understand the tough stuff, but in the end, the Scripture speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, and Him only. And when you asked what I believed about the after life, I would confess that I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that the Spirit has pressed some stirrings on my heart. So, friend, this is not the God-breathed truth, but it is grounded in Scripture and I love to dream about it. Heaven, that is.
You know how people talk about how heaven is paved with streets of gold, and how the gates are made of pearl, and how we will run but not grow weary? Those references are found in the Bible – the books of Revelation and Isaiah to be exact. I can’t say if that’s really what Heaven looks and feels like because I’ve never been. But I will say this: at the least, I think these are ways of taking the most glorious that we can see and feel, and putting it into words.
Take, for example, running. Think about it – why do people hate running so much? Because 0.2 seconds in, and we are tired. Our muscles are cramping, our lungs hurt, and our hearts are pounding. Put all that aside for a second, though, and think about all the good qualities of running – the wind coursing through our hair, the freshness of outside whipping around our bodies, the speed and agility strengthened inside of us. These side effects are euphoric, but usually automatically cancelled out because of the fatigue. But what if we could truly run and now grow weary? Imagine the freedom to worship with the fullness of our bodies, the deepness of breath that we would inhale in the fresh air, and the supernatural ability to live, and move, and have our being. And because we would never become tired, we could stay in this holy and glorious state forever.
THIS is what I imagine Heaven to be like. The deep, guttural, and pain-staking longing that we feel? Gone. The horrific memories of past trauma? No more. The heart break and bleeding? Whole and made new. When He says He will wipe every tear I believe it’s more than the temporary relief. Our pain will be no more – and the memories of our struggles will be but a momentary passing. Because we are in the presence of our King! The very One who stitched the fabric of our beings together. The Man of Sorrows Himself, whole and seated at the right hand. The King to Who we have devoted our hearts and souls, He created us to long for Him, but we will long no more for ANYTHING when we are finally bowing down before Him.
I can’t promise you what Heaven will be like. But I can say that this life with all its pain, and heartache, and felt hopelessness, and struggles – this life is but a moment. A mere whisper of what’s to come. And so, I’ll keep running after this life towards the next. What a worthy race this is.