One of my granddaughters loves to ply me with questions about heaven. Either she thinks I've already been there, or she figures I'm so close to the pearly gates that I must have had a chance to look the place over! I'm not sure what it is, but she asks me endless questions about what heaven is like. I tell her what God's Word has revealed to me about heaven and then, playfully, together we imagine some other things He might have in store for us – who knows? I believe Our God is a God of great surprises!
The images of heaven that God has given us, especially in the Book of Revelation, are of a heaven that is breathtakingly beautiful and beyond anything we can ever imagine. Here is John giving us a little glimpse of what he saw on the day that God gave Him a tour of His heaven.
“He who sat upon the throne was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes and they had crowns of gold on their heads...Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal...”
John goes on to tell us that surrounding the Throne of God were four living creatures continually singing praises to the Lord Jesus Christ. I love everything about this description of heaven. God has spared nothing to show praise and honor to Jesus, who, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, is Worthy of all honor and glory, forever and ever. Because He paid it all for us, we will be partakers in His glory. What an incredible, life altering truth – almost incomprehensible to understand.
My granddaughter watches me with wide eyes, still completely believing that, if I tell her something, it must be true! So I tell her that God has said that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things that He has prepared for us in heaven!” I tell her that Jesus said that He “has gone to prepare a place for us, so that where He is, we may be also!” He wouldn't have lied to us about that now would He? I describe for her the streets of gold, the pearly gates and the beautiful glass sea, with rainbows surrounding the throne of God. I tell her that I have many loved ones that I cannot wait to see when I get there – my father, my mother, my baby that I have never seen. And, we shall see Jesus. The One who purchased heaven for her and for me.
She isn't satisfied with that. Like any child, for every question I can answer, she has a million more! Will I be bored in heaven? How old will I be? What will I do all day - will I know you in heaven – will you know me? Will I just be a spirit that no-one else can see? I don't want to be a spirit, she assures me – that doesn't sound like anything I would want to be! Where will I live, will I go to school, will I get sick? Will I know you in heaven – will you know me? She asks me that question repeatedly, looking for reassurance that we will be together when we get to heaven – the touching and innocent questions of a child full of wonder about this strange thing we call 'heaven'.
I delight in these opportunities to share with my granddaughter the picture of heaven that I have in my mind's eye. I want to encourage her to understand that this isn't all there is. There is a heaven He has promised you and me. I do want to stir up in this precious child a hunger for heaven. This world is so fleeting, so temporary, so fragile. I don't want my granddaughter to so fall in love with life here, that she neglects to go after heaven. Go after God with everything you have, little one. And in the process, you will gain heaven...
I am struck by the words of Jesus when He said: “Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.' Yet, you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed. Anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. To him who has an ear, let him hear...” Revelation 3:17-21
Is God speaking to me – is He speaking to you? Are my eyes and yours so blinded by the riches of this world that we do not see Him standing at the door, begging to come in? Calling us to repent, to understand what is at stake, while there is still time? Have we so stuffed our ears with the cotton balls of “our priorities” that we do not hear His voice or receive His correction? He has told us He will chasten us because He loves us. Do we believe Him? Or are we so self-satisfied, imagining we lack nothing, not realizing how desperate, poor and naked we are before Him?
He has promised us riches untold in a heaven that is waiting. Are we looking for that day? Are we prepared? Or have we traded away the heaven He has purchased for the immediate gratification of things that are perishing anyway?
Like my little granddaughter, I have to train my eyes to look for Him; my ears to hear His voice; my heart to yearn for Him. I have to learn not to settle for anything less. There is a heaven waiting. I don't want to miss it! Do you?
I look at my granddaughter, just beginning life. But, I know that it is over almost before it begins. When it's over, I want to see her again. I want to have her over for hot chocolate in the little cottage by the sea that He has tucked away just for me! I'm sure I'll know her. And she'll know me!
Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”