Are you looking forward to Heaven? Jesus wants us to look forward to it. He used positive language and colourful word pictures to show us something of how fantastic Heaven will be, so that we will eagerly anticipate being there.
A Wedding Reception (Revelation 19): Whether we are one of the key people or simply a guest, we all look forward to a wedding. But if we happen to be the bride or groom we eagerly count down the days. I remember Adrian wrote a simple piece of software that did a big countdown in the corner of his computer screen in the months running up to our wedding. Everything revolves around the big day. Jesus wants us to feel this way about Heaven. It is the consummation of the marriage between Him and His Bride, the Church.
Treasure (Matthew 6): We can store up treasure there. Whatever we do here for Jesus’ sake, we will gain there. And nothing, no matter how small, is lost if we offer it up to Him.
Rewards (Matthew 16, Mark 9): Adrian and I took my Mum to a London show for her 70th birthday. The performance was brilliant; some actors had greater parts than others but all played their part faithfully. As they bowed at the end, each one received praise and acclamation from the appreciative audience. Some received louder claps and even whistling and shouts, but all were rewarded for their superb performance. It made me think of Christ; one day we (if we know Him) will hear Him say to us: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’. And He has promised generous and amazing rewards that we cannot even begin to imagine, if we are faithful and obedient.
Home (John 14): Have you ever been away on a business trip or a holiday? As it draws to an end, you just long to get home – to somewhere familiar, comfortable, where you can completely relax, where the people that you love are. I frequently felt that way when I did a lot of travelling for the Christian charity I worked for. In March 2009 I flew to the Arabian Gulf for a week. It was the furthest distance I had ever been away from Adrian and, while I had a great time on the trip and met with some wonderful people, I missed him. Whenever possible I exchanged emails with him. Half-way through the trip, I stayed at a friend’s home who had skype, so I pre-arranged a time with Adrian to chat. But when the time came, I just could not do it. I knew that to hear his voice would increase my home sickness to such a painful degree that I would not enjoy the rest of my trip. As I travelled home at the end of that week, the flight seemed much longer than it had at the beginning of the trip. Driving home up the M1 seemed so slow. I could hardly wait to see Adrian. It was a wonderful moment to suddenly spot him waiting for me and to be able to run to him and feel his strong arms tightly around me. Heaven will be even better. It is the place where we truly belong, and the Person we love the best in the world will be waiting at the gates to draw us into His loving embrace. Are you homesick for Heaven?
With Jesus (2 Corinthians 5, John 17): Do you enjoy amazing times with the Lord where His presence is incredibly real and you wish it could never end? Well, it will be even more wonderful in Heaven, where it never will come to an end. We will be able to enjoy Him forever. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is that we will be with Him and see His glory. One day, we will see Him in all His glory and just revel in it!
With Friends and Family (1 Thessalonians 4): It is right and normal to look forward to reuniting with our friends and family in Heaven. We enjoy spending time with them here and look forward to being with them. That should not change just because they have gone before us. In Heaven, everyone will be our best friend and no one will feel shy or awkward. The fellowship and friendship there will be truly out of this world.
Jesus warned that this world will not last forever. So let’s not get caught up with the ‘here and now’; let’s look forward to Heaven. May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace until it overflows out of us to those around – who may not know our wonderful Saviour and the glorious, homey place He is preparing for those who love Him.
This article was first published in Insight in April 2010.