As a closed captioner for television, sometimes the news can be overwhelmingly depressing. As I look at the oil spill in the Gulf, the missing child in Portland, Oregon, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world appears cruel and heartless. If it bothers me, as sinful as I am, I know it must grieve our heavenly Father.
So today I am reminding myself of the heavenly home that awaits me. While I can’t change the world I face each day, I can renew my thoughts and how I view the sometimes unexplained darkness. By allowing God to work on my heart through His word, I can gain a heavenly perspective, lifting my spirit from the gutter that robs me of my joy.
Take a few moments and see what God is preparing for us. Our negative thoughts can be redeemed, helping us to live each day with renewed hope for a brighter future.
Revelation 21:4 says. "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." This will follow the greatest war in the universe when God and his angelic warriors battle against Satan and his powers of darkness. Earth will be the battleground and man the prized possession. While the eternal battle wages on for the destiny of our souls, we can rejoice that Heaven is a real place—a place where our failures will no longer paralyze us; where perfect love will cast out fear, joy will abound in unceasing laughter, and unfettered peace will dwell forever. It is but one heartbeat away for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
On earth, we are locked in time, but heaven exists outside of time. Sadly, sin has tainted almost every aspect of our lives—the way we think, the way we live, and the curse, passed down from Adam and Eve, plagues every living creature. But in heaven there is no sin. It is a place of unparalleled beauty. Think of the most beautiful place you have ever visited and it won't compare to the majesty of heaven. Heaven is an out of this world kingdom inhabited by thousands upon thousands of people and angelic creatures. When we pass through heaven's gates, we will be clothed in spiritual bodies that will no longer be imperfect but eternally perfect.
Apparently some saints will shine brighter than others, depending on their faithfulness to God, just as some stars appear brighter in the night sky. There will be rewards for our good works and for bringing others into the kingdom.
In heaven, there is no competition for food or toll for survival—even in the animal kingdom. Romans 8:22 says, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." The wolf and the lamb will feed together. Children will play with lions. The sound of crying will never be heard again. The old order of things that we are subjected to now will have passed away, and our afflictions and troubles will no longer be remembered.
It is never dark in heaven because the glory of God gives it light. The New Jerusalem will shine with the majesty of Perfection. The city will be built of pure gold, pure as glass. The foundations of the city wall will be made of precious gems and the twelve gates to the city of single pearls. Nothing impure will be able to enter the city. A river will flow from the throne of God, a crystal, clear, river called the River of Life. Within the city there will be a Tree of Life which will bear a different fruit each month. Its leaves will be for the healing of nations.
Heaven, as portrayed in Revelation, also has many mysteries that are beyond our understanding. For example, the four winds who obey God and the four unusual creatures who unceasingly give praise to our heavenly Father. I wonder, what did John mean when he said the sky receded like a scroll? And where heaven is physically located is not revealed, but in Genesis 23:12, Jacob "had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."
In Revelation 4:1, John sees an open door to heaven; and in Acts 7:56, Stephen said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Because it is impossible for anything defiled or sinful to enter into heaven, it would have been impossible for anyone to go there if God had not provided a way. In Leviticus 26:12, God said, "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people."
Long ago Satan and his angels were cast down, and today we battle against these unseen powers of darkness. But through the Holy Spirit, we have a taste of heaven here. The Spirit whispers to us in our sleep, comforts us in our pain, and implores us never to give up. The Bible reminds us of the unwavering truth that even the rocks would cry out in praise to our heavenly Father if it were possible.
When Jesus hung on the cross, He said to one of the two thieves beside Him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." I take comfort in the fact that for the last two thousand years, Jesus has been preparing a place for those who believe in Him. I Corinthians 13:12 says we see through a glass darkly, but someday heaven will be fully known to us, even as we are known to God.
Someday heavenly music will permeate our ears. We will splash with joy in heavenly waters emanating from God's throne and walk on streets of gold. We will be reunited with those who have gone before us. We will feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and all those whose names are written in the Book of Life will see the face of God. What a glorious eternity awaits us. Let not the heartaches of this world discourage us from remembering the richness of God’s grace even here—found in Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we might have eternal life in heaven. As Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."