Longing For Heaven

      Let me be clear: I like my life, but as a Christian I know there is better; I long for what God has promised.   God’s promise of a new heaven and new earth is multi-faceted (Revelation 21:1).
      First, there is the fully realized relationship with God Himself. I think of this life and our relationship with God being like an unborn child’s experience with her mom.  There is a relationship; there is warmth, nurturing, and the comfort of mom’s voice, but the relationship is not fully realized.  Once that child is born, a whole new level of relational experience exists with mom.  For the Christian, I think of death like a birth, a transition from one partial relationship with God to a fully realized relationship. 
       Second, there is reunion.  I am always moved by those videos you see of a soldier returning from a deployment to surprise his family.  The hugs, the emotion, the laughter gets me every time.  I think the gate of heaven will be like this on a grand scale.  Christian friends, grandparents, spouses and even children who have gone before us will be waiting.  I have a lengthy list of people I want to see again; remarkably that is not wishful thinking but resurrection certainty.
      Third, we will have resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).  I spent much of the last 11 days in Indianapolis with my parents in a retirement home facility, specifically with my dad in a memory care unit for his Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  So much physical weakness, confusion and forgetfulness surrounded me in the various residents.  The stark reality of bodies and minds in the final season of life is tough to witness.  But we are promised new resurrection bodies:  minds that are once again clear and sharp; bodies stronger than ever; beauty restored.  No more watching our loved ones shuffle or depend on a walker, they can run and do cartwheels if they want. 
      Fourth, we will receive rewards.  I’m not sure exactly what that will involve, but we are promised that God sees what we do in secret and will reward us.  How many times have you served faithfully and no one noticed, no thank you given?  While this is not our goal, it is meaningful, right?   God sees you sacrificing for his kingdom with your time and resources.  He notices everything.  He rewards generously.  Someday consistent Christians will hear from Jesus “well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21-22).   
      Fifth, we will experience restoration.  We will enjoy a new, fully restored creation on the new earth.  We are not given many details, but playing with wolves and riding lions seems possible (Isaiah 65:25).  A new creation without violence and death has intriguing possibilities.  Imagine all traces of the damage caused by the sinful fall of man erased.  Just think of it.  Look at yourself; what would you be like with all trauma healed, relationships whole, brokenness mended, selfishness turned to selflessness?  We are currently a good news people in a bad news world.  Imagine living fully in a good news reality forever. 
      I can hardly wait, can you?
Pastor Derek Dickinson         
Journey Christian Church

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