Tuesday, May 29, 2007

IOW--Diminishing Heaven?

"Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven, so don't expect it to be."
~ Max Lucado ~

Contemplating this quote this week, I have decided that I do heaven a huge injustice. I downplay it. I diminish its awesomeness. I create it in the image of earth--not the other way around.

Sunday afternoon, while on holiday in Norfolk, I found a really awesome patchwork quilt shop. I could have easily spent hours/days/maybe even months fondling gorgeous fabrics. But German and the girls were in the car, so I settled for a couple of metres of fabric and some thread. As I got into the car I asked German what were the chances of getting a job in the area because "I may have just found heaven." Yes I was commenting on the fact that I found a place that was beautiful and could make make me very happy---but it is nothing like heaven.

Vacation places are called "heaven on earth". Heaven is used as the nth degree of beauty for comparisons. I can become almost glib about what heaven must be like. But the truth is: I-haven't-got-a-clue. Not a clue. The very best of the very best--not even a glimmer of the real thing. And that blows my little mortal mind!

So what is heaven going to be? The images I have created (and these are my imaginations as I read Scripture) are bright, shining, joyful, celebratory, loud with praise, and filled with God's presence. The body of Christ will always (always, always with no hesitation) love each other. Illness will be demolished. Fear--gone. Fighting and striving, nonexistent. Racial, ethnic or geographic differences abolished. We will act as one, be as one, all serving the awesomeness of our GOD together without judging how others are worshiping. Unity in Worship. That is what I look toward. And for all my comparisons on earth, it's going to be even greater.

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, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live 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." Revelation 21:1-4

Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. Revelation 7:16

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. Revelation 22:5

Can you catch a glimpse of heaven? Isn't it amazing? But I must remember in my imagining, that it is greater than here, more beautiful than here and more awesome than here. Why? Because God totally reigns there, and here I must cope with the falleness of the world and with my own sinful nature. The fallen state is demolished in heaven. I must not be surprised when earth doesn't measure up to heaven--it can't. And I must not diminish heaven to earth's best--it's greater than that. Praise the Lord, it's greater than that.

One of my favorite praise choruses is "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe. But, praise His Name, someday I won't have to imagine anymore. Blessings to you today!

Our hostess this week is Iris at Sting My Heart. Please join us there.


Denise said...

Awesome post, bless you.

eph2810 said...

I so totally agree with you. Sometimes I say to "oh, that is like heaven on earth..."
I am looking forward to the day I will worship Him with all my brothers and sisters, without the boundaries you have described.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this week's IOW quote.

Be blessed today and always.

Tami Boesiger said...

I think those glimpses of heaven you talk about keep us moving, looking forward to what is to come. You're very right that we cannot possibly imagine what is to come. Doesn't that get your motor running?!

hearto of wisdom said...

Good post. I love the variety or perspectives I'm finding on the blogs. I have also underestimated heaven but I can relate comparing it to a good quilting store or a bookstore. :-)

I recently moved my blog and lost a lot or readers. Hope you get a chance to browse and comment on a few entries. I'd appreciate it.


Pearls of Wisdom said...

I loved your post and perspective, especially about making sure we don't diminish the wonderful and awesome view of Heaven. May the Lord Bless you this week and always.

In his endless love,

Angel ( Angel Mama)

Nise' said...

Great thoughts on this week's quote. When life is so good I am doubly blessed by knowing that heaven is going to be so much better beyond my imagination!

Crystal said...

What a great picture you painted of what heaven will be like....I can hardly wait!
Thanks for sharing

Dana said...

Oh, I so agree with what you wrote~ I don't think I am capable of imagining heaven without some skewed vision that I've grown up with. You did a great job! Thanks for sharing.

Finding JOY in the Morning said...

We both treasure the same song, I Can Only Imagine - of which we barely can just begin to imagine!

THanks for sharing so eloquently here.

Blessings ~ Loni

Julie said...

What a wonderfully, unique way to look at this quote... trying to explain heaven based upon our own reality ~ impossible!

Rosemarie said...

Heaven is our highest expectation! Thanks for giving us a word picture of its beauty to include the ceasing of all sadness and strife when we enter eternity with Jesus.

Awesome post and certainly worthy of my featured posts.

Heavenly Voice

Anonymous said...

I too enjoy that song! As always I enjoy your perspective of these quotes....your insight into the frailities of our human nature always encourages me...whereas there are those who may take our frailties and demean us. Does that make sense? I love the uniqueness of you MiPa!!!!

my4blessings said...

This is a great post. I know that there are a lot of people who I won't get to meet this side of heaven. I look forward to being in His presence with you, if we don't get to meet before that day!