Over the winter I read the book Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. My Sunday school class is now working through it, and I’m getting seriously homesick for that place. Do you ever look around this broken Earth and think, I could leave all this behind without a second thought? I sure do.
Maybe I’m just starting to get to that age. As a kid, I remember being so afraid during the Gulf War, thinking the end of all things must be near. I pleaded with Christ not to come back until I’d experienced college, marriage, children. Then during my 20’s, when I struggled with debilitating arthritis for several years (a symptom of Crohn’s), I started seriously thinking how nice a pain-free life would be. Even though the arthritis has been in remission for eight years and I forget I have Crohn’s most days, that is starting to become my regular way of thinking. In fact, I turn 40 in two weeks, and instead of bemoaning the fact that half my life is past, I’ve been cheering that I’m halfway done!
It’s not that I hate my life. Quite the opposite. I eat well, sleep well, exercise, and stay busy. I thoroughly enjoy playing with my kids and watching them grow into well-balanced, godly people. I actually like my kids! I do a lot of camping, I love to get out in my garden, I enjoy creating music, and I find huge satisfaction in writing and selling my novels. I love life. But when I look at the state this world is in—ridiculous government debts, disregard for unborn and elderly life, the gay movement, broken families, a general belief in evolution, wars, famines, genocide—I start to think real seriously about living under a just and perfect Ruler. I look forward to the absence of starvation, disease, and conflict. I long for a time when we will no longer even be tempted to sin, and every relationship will be pure and unselfish.
But I love it here on Earth, you may be thinking. How can I give up sunsets, mountains, and the joy of physical movement for some spiritual realm I don’t understand? This is where I recommend Alcorn’s book again. Through careful Bible study, he shows us that Heaven won’t be all that different from what we know right now, except it will be perfected. Because Revelation 21 tells us how God’s residence, the City of God, will come down to Earth. Our final destination is not some spirit realm. It is the New Earth. God will come down to us, and where He is, that is Heaven. Did you get that? God will come to us! That absolutely blows my mind.
God created us physical beings. In the beginning, he provided us with a physical home and he called it “very good.” We blew it, but through Christ’s sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection, God has provided the means to redeem mankind and renew all of Creation. He hasn’t changed his original plan. It will be the same, only better! In fact, I find good reason to believe even animals will be made new. Alcorn uses solid scripture to present his case then uses it as a springboard to do some very interesting speculating. (He distinguishes clearly between his imagination and biblical fact.)
If you dread the thought of dying, or if you’re curious about what lies ahead, I strongly encourage you to read Alcorn’s Heaven. I know I wrote something similar only a few posts ago, but gaining an understanding of Heaven has seriously changed the way I view life and death. It’s made me homesick.
Folks, we are in for a treat. But the only way to enjoy what God has planned for us is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t we spread the word? Who have you shared Heaven with lately?