Are You Anxious For Heaven?
6 “and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7 NKJ
When I was a new believer I remember reading a newsletter article from a well-known evangelist regarding heaven. It left me unsatisfied and a little uncertain about my future in God’s kingdom. Now I was sure that was where I wanted to be, but her description of it left me tentative in my zeal to go there. You see, what the author wrote could be paraphrased like this: “If you are not content singing and praising God for hours a day, then you are going to be miserable in heaven because that is all that we will be doing”. The picture of me sitting and playing some heavenly instrument and singing for told me that I was not going to be very happy throughout eternity.
I have since come to realize that this is a rather simplistic view of heaven and that I can look forward with great anticipation to the prospect of eternity with my Lord and Savior. Paul was not sure whether he wanted to stay here and do the work of the Lord or go to be with His loving Savior in heaven. The Bible does not tell us a lot about heaven. Why do you suppose that is? Most people’s perception of heaven is based on speculation, not upon Biblical depictions of what we can expect, and there is a reason for this. It is foolish to expect that we will be able to understand what heaven is really like since we cannot comprehend it with our natural minds. Why would God attempt to describe in great detail something that we were not capable of understanding? Here is an example from Ephesians 3:18, where Paul is trying to explain to us the full measure of the love of Christ for each of us:
“…may be able to comprehend with all the saints what /is/ the width and length and depth and height—“
Please notice that in describing the love of Jesus for us he gives us a four-dimensional picture even though we live in a three-dimensional world in this natural realm. We could picture something regarding length, depth, and height which we can understand. The things of the spiritual realm are beyond our natural understanding. We may not understand it, but we can accept that it is a reality that we will eventually understand when we are no longer impeded by the things of this world. It is why God did not give a lot of explanation of heaven for us. While we can’t comprehend this in the physical world, we can know that it will be far better than anything that we may be able to conjure up in our limited imaginations.
There is one other important factor to realize about our eternity in heaven. While praise for the Lord will be a part of the experience, and it will just naturally flow from us when these natural bodies no longer encumber us, that will not be the sole experience of being in His presence for the ages to come. While He is worthy of our praise, and that will be a natural experience, we will not be spending forever just playing instruments and singing without end. That implies that God is just going to take from us and God is not a taker, He is a giver. The above verse shows us that in eternity God will be showing us His exceeding riches and kindness! While we cannot comprehend it now, we know that it will be wonderful beyond our imagination. Now we can see why Paul was uncertain about staying here or going home.
J Todd Hostetler