A pastor once confessed to me, “Whenever I think about Heaven, it makes me depressed. I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.”
“Why?” I asked.
“To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp . . . it’s all so terribly boring. Heaven doesn’t sound much better than Hell.”
Where did this Bible-believing, seminary-educated pastor get such a view of Heaven? Certainly not from Scripture, where Paul said that to depart and be with Christ was far better than staying on a sin-cursed Earth (Philippians 1:23). My friend was more honest than most, yet I’ve found that many Christians share the same misconceptions about Heaven.
In order to get a picture of Heaven—which will one day be centered on the New Earth—you don’t need to look up at the clouds; you simply need to look around you and imagine what all this would be like without sin and death and suffering.
So look out a window. Take a walk. Use your God-given skills to paint or draw or build a shed or write a book. Imagine our world—all of it—in its original condition: The happy dog with the wagging tail, not the snarling beast, beaten and starved. The flowers not wilted, the grass not dying, the blue sky without pollution. People smiling and joyful, not angry, depressed, and empty. If you’re not in a particularly beautiful place, close your eyes and envision the best place you’ve ever been—complete with trees, mountains, and waterfalls.
Think of friends or family members who loved Jesus and are with Him now. Picture them with you, walking together in this place. Now you see someone coming toward you. It’s Jesus, with a big smile on His face.
At last, you’re with the person you were made for, in the place you were made for. Everywhere you go, there will be new people and places to enjoy, new things to discover. What’s that you smell? A feast. A party’s ahead, and you’re invited. There’s exploration and work to be done—you can’t wait to get started.
Heaven is a place worth thinking and talking and dreaming about. Once you understand what the Bible says about Heaven—especially when you learn to think of it in terms of the New Earth—you’ll look forward to living there!
For more on the subject of Heaven, Eternal Perspective Ministries invites you to visit their website. You can also browse Randy Alcorn's books, including his book Heaven.