Monday, May 5, 2014

Heaven is a Wonderful Place

In this you greatly rejoice...
1 Peter 1:6a (emphasis mine)

I just can't get over the word, this.  To be able to rejoice the way the word is really defined, there has to be a full understanding of the this. You can't get around it; you can't jump over just have to study it and hope that it's reality is driven deep enough into your mind and heart, that the right response is a given.

In order to know what-in-the-world Peter is referring to, I have gone back over and over his introductory remarks.  I know that he's writing to a group of exiled, displaced, lonely, and terribly persecuted believers.  I know he's reminded them of their incredible chosen-ness and the immensity of God's mercy and grace.  There's more, though, and I think this is what he's trying to get across to them in the midst of all the messiness of their lives - in light of the inheritance you will obtain (the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away), in comparison to eternity, and in regards to your protection until that day, there is a reason to rejoice that is almost unfathomable.  That reason, the what-in-the-world Peter is referring to, is heaven. The challenge is for them to keep the out-of-this-world in view while they navigate the stormy waters of life as they know it.

That's our challenge, as well.  So, we need Bible words about heaven to help us.  All my Christian life, I've tucked away snippets of truth about heaven, and it being a wonderful place.  I've been reminded that we'll be in the presence of Jesus, that the streets are like gold, and that the myriad of colorful jewels that surround the throne reflect the glory of God.  I tell myself often that it is a place of great healing, and comfort, of joy, and NO FEAR!  These things leave me wishful, and longing for the day, but I don't yet rejoice the way Peter describes.

This weekend, we went to see Heaven is for Real.  The experiences of a little four year old, who was privileged to glimpse heaven, left my eyes wet, and my heart tender.  My take away was the reminder of the people-gone-before that I would get to see again and KNOW!  The other piece that struck me was the one where Jesus holds us, and wipes away all tears.  That was the part of the incomplete puzzle that started to stir my soul.  Not the wipe-away-all-tears part, but the idea of Jesus taking me in his arms, and holding me close.  To be embraced in the arms of my Savior, and to return that embrace, in love and gratitude began to get my heart thumping and leaping.

Sunday's worship resulted in an even further stirring of joy deep inside.  The team led in a Hillsong chorus, I had not heard, but, wouldn't you know it, focused on heaven (what else, right?).  What did the chorus emphasize?  Being held by Jesus.  For some reason, I had never let that possibility be a part of the images of heaven I've gathered over the years.  That Jesus would be present, of course!  That in his presence would be fulness of joy, absolutely!  However, Jesus and me, up close, and personal, not so much.  Unworthiness always blocked that image, I guess.  However, as The Lord is giving me another possibility, I am understanding the fulness-of-joy part a little deeper.  It might be coming soon...the part about being able to greatly rejoice in matter the messiness of life and the circumstances thrown my way!

(Here's the link to the Hillsong chorus:

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