Good souls, we all wonder: What is Heaven Really Like?
All doctrines teach it as Paradise. Brilliant bright colors, in shades we find incomprehensible down here. Transcendent peace, where kids line up for grizzly bear rides. Eternal pureness, where we inhale blessing and exhale praise. Where the downtrodden among us will inherit golden thrones.
It will be an open-air university where our deepest questions are answered.
God, Holy of Holies, is too magnificent and too loving and too powerful for us to be directly in his presence. That’s why he spreads Truth through others. So…
curious about God-wrestling? Meet Jacob. Wonder how to endure torture and still share love? Here’s Paul. And over there is David, who can tell you how to have it all, sin it away, and still be a blessing.
Jesus will be our magic teacher: probing, parabling, rebuking. Mostly…love. And because his flesh was broken and his blood spilled, his love is everywhere at once and is instantaneous. But he won’t come over without an invite.
Through that dialogue, your riddles are solved: no more and no less. For even in heaven, if God granted us infinite knowledge, we would be God. And I don’t think that would roll.
Selfishly, I believe, we all think that once we’ve made The Big Show, it’s easy street. With sins forgiven—and forgotten—in Heaven, we assume we’ll just pull up a beanbag cloud and watch drive-in movies of Every Good Thing we did on earth, with some bloopers added just for fun.
In Genesis, God tells Adam the consequences of The Fall. Cursed ground will be worked with a rusty plow navigated to provide hard-scrabble bread, eaten with sweaty brow. It’s no picnic for Eve and sisterhood, either. Childbirth will hurt—a lot.
You hear of folks who retire, vacation and golf for awhile, and get bored. Then, two choices. They either go do something bigger than themselves–or curl up into a fetal Lazy Boy ball and die.
Heaven will be kind of the same. The awesomeness and majesty and unlimited love will knock us breathless for awhile. And it will be eternal. But like all things good, we’ll eventually take it for granted. You can’t spend a month at Disneyland without being tempted to kick Donald Duck in the ass.
So we’ll be in Heaven. Bored after while; looking for an apple.
God already knows this about us. He created our hearts, after all. That’s why he also designed distractions for us on the other side.
This means that even though there may not be weeds to pull, we’ll still have to work in heaven. Even restored souls will need sustenance and comforting. Welcoming committees (with potlucks, perhaps) will serve to orient newcomers. Air castles will need design and construction. Companions for the elderly and babysitter mentors for all ages will still be needed.
Obviously, God could do all these things in a micro-heartbeat, just like he could down here. But Spirit knows temptation’s loud call and how easily we’re distracted.
That’s why God will put us to work in Heaven, doing his Good Will.
Sounds quite a bit like how he designed earth, don’t you think?
John Wesley nailed it. “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.”
You know, it’s awesome to give God a hand.
But he wants the rest of us, too.