That place where Johnny Cash and Lassie are…

17 Apr

In my last post I detailed how I might explain our current reality to someone: the world is broken and we’re all part of the problem. We have to own our own tendencies to do wrong before we can receive any correction. (It’s worth noting that the gospel isn’t there to correct our behavior: sinful actions are a symptom of a sinful nature. We must fix the source – our hearts – and only Christ can do that). Today I’ll detail a future reality that believers expect to participate in: heaven.

The pendulum continues to swing back and forth in church culture between focusing on heaven to the detriment of our effectiveness here and ignoring heaven to the detriment of our effectiveness here.

I tend to fall into the second camp because I’m afraid of the accusation that I’m just subscribing to some ‘pie in the sky’ fairy tale. The thing is, if it’s a true fairy tale then why shouldn’t I share it with my friends? Heaven is spoken of as a reward, a home, a Kingdom, and a city (among other things). Though plenty of books have been written and the best theologians of history have addressed it – we still don’t know all that much that isn’t speculative.

There will be no pain and no death. There will be no sickness and no sadness. There will be no hatred and no envy. We will be alive and aware. We will have physical bodies. God will be there and that will fill us with joy beyond anything imaginable here. We were designed to be with Him. Our hearts yearn for his presence (even if we deny or suppress that truth). This is why the knowledge of God is the most precious commodity on Earth – and it will be ubiquitous in heaven.

Um, seriously? I was told there would be cake...

Um, seriously? I was told there would be cake…

A common fear is that heaven will be boring or monotonous. I can’t explain why it won’t be. Imagine being free from all worry, all fear and instead being with the person you love the most at the height of that love. Amplify that by a magnitude of infinity and you have heaven.

Heaven really matters – Jesus spoke of being with him in the Kingdom. We shouldn’t become ‘so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good’ – but I suspect that if we have the real heaven and the real God in mind, this is impossible. We are told to pray that God would make Earth like heaven, and that we should participate in that process to the degree that we are able. This means we will be doing good as often as possible in creative and unexpected ways. Jesus sought the very margins of society and then brought hope and healing, this is the Kingdom I want to be a citizen of.

I don’t share about heaven frequently when I’m sharing the Gospel – I’m not sure how to present it in a way that doesn’t feel like bait. (And I’m not sure someone who doesn’t yearn for Christ would even see it as bait). I’d like to though. I’d like to paint a picture that calls the heart back home. Pascal’s wager makes the point that a bet on infinite joy while risking nothing is more logical than a bet on nothingness while risking infinite sorrow. This doesn’t sway people to believe, nor should it, but it ought to illustrate how high the stakes are.

After re-reading this post, I realize that it’s less conversational instruction and a little more of me just spilling my guts on heaven. The takeaways are that (a) God will be there and that matters a lot because this relationship supersedes all others, (b) it won’t be boring in any way, (c) everything negative that you can imagine will be eliminated while everything positive will be amplified, (d) it won’t end.


One Response to “That place where Johnny Cash and Lassie are…”


  1. Hell. Not the one in Michigan. | What do I say to that? - April 18, 2013

    […] far this week I’ve posted about Earth and Heaven, today I’ll try to deal with Hell. (Although Jesus already did! Christian joke – […]

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