When I was a child, I thought heaven was somewhere where unicorns jumped over the clouds of cotton candy. I got a little older and Heaven looked rather boring as someone described it as a very long religious service. I loved the church, but I didn’t want to be there forever! Fortunately, I have grown up since then (not much) and have a new perspective. Or, I’m trying to do it. I’m trying to have a perspective of eternity.
It is difficult to be excited by Heaven when the descriptions in the Bible are vague and often bizarre. Yet there is confirmation of an unknown greatness in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart of the imagined man, what God has prepared for those who love him”. We must trust God and believe him when he says that Heaven is heaven. I think we don’t know how heaven will be because God doesn’t want to spoil the big surprise!
All our lives are filled with people who encourage us to live for the present moment, but we were not created for a short life on earth, we were created for eternal life with God. God is not saying that we cannot live for the moment, but we must be careful that the moment is not all we live for – we are promised something much better.
The persecuted Church challenges us to see how we see God’s promise from heaven. Persecuted Christians keep their faith, despite the pressure to renounce God. They fight for what they believe, even if no one fights for them, and they love their churches, even if they know they can be destroyed.
The resilience of many Christians persecuted in the face of opposition reminds us that this life is not everything. The promise of something better gives strength and endurance; the absolute promise of Heaven helps us today and gives us a goal every day. If you believe in heaven, you do not live in vain.
I often think that persecuted Christians have a stronger faith than I do, or perhaps they believe in Heaven more than I do, just as I think I would collapse in the face of persecution. Perhaps it is not a question of who has the strongest faith, but perhaps it is a question of who has a perspective of eternity?
As you turn your eyes to the sky, you realize that there is more to life than what is around you right now. This means that you can be safe knowing that Heaven is real and that you are heading there. A perspective of eternity is a source of comfort and strength when everything around you seems insignificant; it is God’s way of saying that I have this, I have you and you will one day be with me living in heaven.
A firm faith that Heaven is real means that you know where you are going in life. If you know your destination, you are less likely to get lost in trying to get there. Our destination is Heaven, it is our goal, our destiny and the promise that God has made to us. Focus on Heaven and you will find it easier to stay with God by trying to get there.
I will not pretend to understand the crazy verses of Revelation that describe the end times. But I want to encourage you to pray for a perspective of eternity, because we all need to be excited by the afterlife if we want to make the most of the present life. When paradise is your focus, life becomes more real