"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.