Heaven; Hope for the Best Day Ever
This post is by Becca Wellan, a volunteer at Redeemer who firmly believes there will be coffee and hammocks and bonfires in heaven.
“You know when the sun is about to set, at the beginning of summer? Everything smells like fresh cut grass,” she says, looking out at the road, barely lit by dim headlights. “That’s how I imagine it. There will be fields of soft grass and we’ll just lay there, watching the stars come out. Feeling nothing but peace.”
My dear friend and I pulled up to my dumpy, old house and sat there talking for another hour. Already, we spent several hours working through our struggles together. I had a desperate, heavy heart that night and I craved the salve of gospel-conversation. Soon, talk turned into daydreaming about heaven.
This past year did not go as planned. But really, does anything? I’ve been blindsided by heartache and desperation, drowning in an endless sea of questions I can’t answer.
I am no Job or King David. I won’t pretend to be well acquainted with the suffering of this world and really, I’m not prepared to write about my own. But I will say this. In the questions and confusion, in the hurt and fear, I’ve clung to this hope: one day, one glorious day, it will all be over.
Finding healing in this world is not our only hope.
And after you have suffered a little while,
the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. // 1 Peter 5:10.
If you believe that Jesus has saved you from the power and punishment of your sin, the process of being restored, confirmed, strengthened and established has already begun. But while we’re on earth, we will suffer in one way or another. A guarantee, like death and taxes and coffee shops on every corner in the PNW.
By no means to make light of the horrendous state of our world, but in comparison with forever, it will last no longer than the morning mist. Or my morning cup of jo, let’s be real.
In sharing each other’s suffering, my friends and I have been deeply comforted as we dreamed together of what forever and finally free will be like. What it will be like to be fully restored and at rest in the arms of Christ.
In other words, we can’t shut up about heaven. We’re stoked to go home.
Think heaven will be boring? I used to. Puffy clouds, cherubs, harps and all that. Harps are pretty rad, but I had no glimmer of joy in my expectation of heaven. On top of that, no one really talked about it. I only started caring when I realized my heart could break and I’m not who I thought I was and life just stinks, some days.
But think about it: the creator of joy and laughter and shimmering oceans and, well, pepto-bismol pink flamingos, also created heaven. We have a lot to look forward to. And, we have a lot we could talk about.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away. // Revelation 21:3-4
Just think about it: There will be no more pain. No. More. Pain! This means …
No more grief, no loss, no hunger.
No more shootings. No racism, sexism, homophobia.
No more struggles with singleness, marriage, friendships, sexuality.
No more addictions.
No more mental illness.
No more cancer, or other illnesses.
No more papercuts, stubbed toes, acne, bad breath. Etc.
What are your biggest pain points right now? Perhaps your own sin, or the sin you see around you? Let your heart be encouraged - these things will pass away, because on the cross Jesus purchased our freedom, our hope for heaven. One day, He’ll give us a warm welcome, with arms open wide. We’ll be with Him in paradise, like the criminal on the cross - unworthy to be called His, but loved, forgiven and heaven-bound in spite of ourselves (Luke 23:43).
Some questions about heaven we’ll never find answers to in the bible. Like, will there be ice-cream, or laser tag? But, it’d do our souls some good to look upward, with our hearts set towards eternity. Jesus prepared a place for us (John 14:2), and our hearts cannot possibly imagine all He has in store for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). But, we’re free to imagine nonetheless!
Now, here’s what I want you to do: Go, geek out about heaven. Look up verses about it. Ask your friends what they imagine heaven will be like. Ask a lot of questions. Remind each other that in dark seasons, when hope seems hard to find, belief in Jesus means we can breathe:
One day, one glorious day, it will all be over. We will be home.