Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heaven Help Us

Continuing the topic from my devotion published today ... Many people I've asked admit they aren't really looking forward to heaven all that much.  Oh sure, they greatly prefer it to the alternative, and they love God, but they suspect heaven won't be all that fun.  At least not compared to here where we have great food, movies, things to accomplish, amusement parks, vacations in exotic locations and hobbies we enjoy. They're afraid heaven will be one long, boring choir concert.

Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia series? C.S. Lewis ends the last book in the series with a paragraph that excites me about heaven:

"... but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has ever read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

— C.S. Lewis in The Last Battle

I believe heaven will far surpass our best notions of it. I believe that because that's the kind of God I know and serve. And because He is ultimately responsible for all the good things we enjoy in life here. My mother-in-law, a nature lover, once told me she wasn't looking forward to heaven.  I asked why. She replied, "I understand there are streets of gold, and I prefer the greens of moss and grass." I assured her that since God made the greens of grass, she could trust that she'll like whatever heaven contains. She is there now.

I also believe that how I live on earth determines to a degree what my life in heaven will be like - the theology of rewards. I believe that because that's what I see the Bible teaching, and it reflects God's character of justice. (Salvation to heaven, which is not based on my actions but simply my faith in Jesus, reflects God's character of grace). I've been writing about that some in my upcoming book It's No Secret.
So, what do you believe heaven will be like?   Where did you get those notions?

If your notions came from particular verses in scripture, I'd love for you to post them in the comments for us to read and learn from. Let's find out together this week, as best we can on this side of the Great Shadow, what heaven is really like.

Thankful for the hope and promise of heaven.


  1. This verse tells me it will always be "sunny" there. And there is a city there, not just a choir room :). And relationships will be better since no one will lie or fight or scam each other.

    Revelation 21:22-27

    "I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

  2. I think about heaven ALL the time! There are many days I don't want to live on this earth anymore. I can't WAIT to get there! With all the stuff going on in today's world...I'm hoping the rapture comes SOON!

    I have to keep thinking that God has a reason for me to still be here. He wants me to teach my children about Him. He wants me to share His love with people I classes, at WalMart, and everywhere!

    I love the song "I Can Only Imagine"...I'm going to be singing and dancing and worshipping Jesus when I get there.

    Also, when I get to heaven...I hope I get to be like one of those little kids that Jesus sat on his lap when the disciples thought He should be doing other things. I want to sit on His lap and have Him snuggle me...

    ...I even drew a picture for my daughter...of when she gets to heaven of her sitting on Jesus's lap.

    Yes...I think about heaven often.


  3. Thank you for your deovtion today from Prov 31. I wanted to leave you a comment on how the Lord Spoke to me through it. In the prayer you say, "May I live for that kingdom – for its King and by its rules." It touched my soul. I am to live on earth with citizenship in heaven and live by heavens laws, not the earths. All the while honoring, loving and pleadging allegiance to the King of Heaven. Thank you for allowing God to use you to teach me that I should love heaven just as much as the King does. God bless, Stephanie

  4. Hi Rachel,
    Amy V. from WI here. I love what you wrote about being "Heaven minded". I've heard that too and reading your spin on it really makes sense. As my relationship with God develops and grows, I find myself excited, really excited to get to Heaven! Since I'm still on this earth I figure He has a job/s for me to do so I'm working on listening to His voice and then follow through. (Which, admittedly, can be tough at times!)

    About 1 yr 1/2 ago my beloved grandma died and I tell you I had to cling to God with my pinkie finger at times because I was so was unexpected and it just didn't make sense. However, I never once left God's side and He's since helped me understand that she's in a much, much better place. I'm looking forward to that heavenly reunion!! We will have perfect relationships with others; no more "masks" or trying to impress others. We will live together in fellowship, worshipping our creator.

    I believe that Heaven is a perfect place where each believer will have an active role....perhaps singing, or someother activity you really enjoy on earth that brings glory to God. Looking back it's almost humorous my view of Heaven; I thought we'd be strumming harps on clouds!! Scripture doesn't give us many details but it does mention that Jesus is preparing a place ahead of us....mansions with many rooms. (John 14:1-3) Since Heaven will be more wonderful than the best times on earth, I imagine we will live along with others from our family....even those we've never met.

    I also think about the wonderful food we will have....I can't think of anything better than chocolate but I'm my limited earthly mind can't comprehend that which God has waiting for us!

    I look forward to reading others' comments!

    Have a great Wed.


  5. Rachel,

    I'm so glad I read your words today. Since losing our son, Nick, in November of 2008, my heaven-mindedness has intensified so very much.

    I long for the day when I can stand before God and hear "well done good and faithful servant," and I just believe so strongly that I will then be allowed to walk through the gates and cross the Jordan to hug my sweet, sweet Nick again...........and to hold my precious little Adrienne who we lost in 1992.


    I love Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Heaven is the Face." I realize when I listen to that song that surely God understands how right now Heaven to me is being with my children again.

    I do believe that I won't have questions about SIDS or cancer when I get there. All those things will be washed away......just like my tears.

    Heaven. I can't wait!!!!!!!

    Love you!

  6. Much like you, Heaven is not something I think about tangibly all that much. I think that it is too wonderful a place for us to even imagine - which is what will make it so wonderful to begin with. Aren't surprises more wonderful than the expected? Aren't the unseen things more desired than those things seen? But the one thing that draws us all closer is seeing those that have gone before us... starting with Jesus and then family and friends who have been called home ahead of us. "Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace, I want to see my Savior's face... heaven is a wonderful place" but to what degree that really means -- i truly don't know but I also am not in need of knowing... It is enough for me to KNOW that my redeemers lives and that because He lives...I too will live right along side him some day -- some day at his choosing.

  7. Hi Rachel...
    Thank you for sharing your insights on Heaven and asking this question. For many years, I've been reassured that heaven is more than I can begin to comprehend but that I knew whatever was waiting, would be what I would want --- Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all of His People together at last. I always looked at the verses of what God says He is and thought that I never want to be in a place that doesn't have those LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, etc. Hell would be just the opposite of that, and I know I don't want to be in any place that didn't have His Love. I haven't really thought about what I'd be doing there or where or what it would be like, just that whatever it would be...was God's perfect plan for us.

    What I've found to be struggling with is my non-desire to be here on earth any longer than I need to be. I know I'm here for His purpose and I don't want to deny Him anything from His design for me, but I find my desire to work here waining. I guess what I really am questioning is why I don't desire to share this treasure with my non-believing friends and people I encounter. I am comfortable to share and encourage other believers, but those that I encounter that don't know or don't care to know Him...I avoid sharing my faith with them. For so long I've battled with whether or not I'd offend them and actually would aid the devil in turning them further away from God. I've kept my mouth shut with those that voice opinions contrary to His Word and Truth because I doubt my ability to share it in love. I am questioning my ability to love my neighbor enough to speak God's love to them and risk their rejection/anger towards me, but even worse their rejection of Him. I want so much to tell them that I love them enough to share His truth with them, but I am questioning why I cannot open my mouth and take that risk?

    How all of this came from just your question about heaven is beyond me? Am I going to regret in heaven -- not seeing the people I encounter here on earth because I was too afraid to share our Father's gift of salvation through Jesus, His Son? I know that my answer would be "YES" so I guess with that answer, ultimately... my mind needs to be on both heaven and earth, just like our Father's is. He hasn't given up on this earth yet, so why am I, right? I've got so many people that need Jesus still. Guess I've answered my question. Thanks so much!

  8. I'm enjoying everyone's comments. Aren't you?

    Paula, interesting stuff this question pulled out of you. Wish we could sit over coffee and discuss it. Maybe I'll post later this week in response to that.

  9. Our pastor just did a Heaven series and it definitely challenge my thinking on Heaven and gave me a lot of hope!! My favorite quote was, "Don't live like you are dying. Live like you are going to Heaven." Love it! Thanks for your words--hope is a powerful thing!!
    I always felt a weird longing for something this world cannot I know, that longing is to be with my Savior in Heaven! It's awesome!

  10. Ya know, I've been doing a lot of thinking about Heaven.

    A wonderful friend of mine just lost her 5 month old baby girl. It has been a heart-wrenching and tear-filled last few weeks. My friend writes and talks about her precious baby girl being in Heaven and how that brings her some peace in the midst of all the pain. So I've been thinking lately about what Heaven is like for this sweet baby that is no longer with us. But I've also been so consumed with thinking about the empty arms of my friend - longing for her baby girl. Your post gives me some good and heavenly things to ponder. I needed that today - thank you Rachel :)

    Have a good one :)

    Kate :)

  11. Rachel... thanks for the comment and I am open to more discussion wholeheartedly. All I can surmise is that my fear of sharing Christ has been weighing hard on my heart and your question of heaven helped me see what is at stake and has helped me realize, I've been playing it safe. Sort of been feeling a bit like Jonah...reluctant to speak to my friends about Jesus. With heaven at stake, can I really afford the comfort of keeping my mouth shut? Amazing how the Spirit speaks to us, isn't it?

  12. Rachel, so appreciated your devotional today. Thank you. It called me to remember a video I shared on my blog the beginning of this year. If you have time, you may enjoy this post:

    You don't really know me, but when I attended "She Speaks" in 2008, you gave me my Bible verse card when I came forward on the Saturday night. That's a story all in itself :) Really, God gave it to me.


  13. Yes, heaven is where I go to in the mind when I;m feeling the stress of life. My favourite spot is by the River of Life, drinking in the living water, and seeing Jesus sitting on a rock next to me. And feel all my worries & tension melt away. Jesus indeed gives rest to the weary!

  14. My husband has recently become unemployed and is looking for a new job. We had been discussing how it is important to dress the part of who he wants to be. What a revelation to read your devotion yesterday and realize ultimately how we are to dress. We are to "dress" as if we are in least our perception of it. Put on the Spirit of God everyday so that we may continually strive towards Him and His Kingdom. Thinking on heaven sounds like peace on Earth. Thank you for your message.

  15. I admit I don't think about heaven too much, as it seems so ambiguous. I believe it will be beautiful and peaceful, and that thought comforts me when I lose someone I love. But I don't dwell on it. I read something the other day (I can't remember what or where) that made me think we might have to wait in "sleep" until Jesus comes again before we realize "Heaven". That thought made me sad.

    I do hope that there is more to our existence than this life here on earth. While I delight in the beauty of God's natural world, with its endless details of exquisite wonder, I believe that Heaven can only be more wondrous! Not only will it be beautiful, but we will be free of pain and sadness.

    Have you seen this video of a 12-year-old painter who says she has seen visions of God and Heaven? I can't verify the validity of it, but she has been given an incredible gift. She voices her thoughts about Heaven having more colors than we can possibly imagine and her paintings are amazing. Here's the link if you'd like to see. I have found it very uplifting, and so have many others:

    Has she really been given a glimpse of Heaven? In some ways, through our faith, haven't we all?


Chime in.