Glimpses of heaven- restoration, rest and pinterest

I had to giggle a bit after I did a search on Pinterest for “heaven.”  I found mountains, beaches, perfectly organized pantries, a closet full of shoes, decadent desserts and baskets full of expensive yarn.

A Pinterest search for “Heaven”

My personal favorite (since I’m well known for my addiction to a great bath) is this one

heaven on earth.  Dear God, maybe for my birthday?  

I don’t think about heaven much, although I have many waiting for me there, I don’t imagine it at all, ever.  Something about allowing my thoughts to drift to the details of heaven feels naughty like some sort of strange wishful thinking.

Just knowing that God is here sustaining and redeeming me through THIS life is enough, what have I done to deserve any sort of crown or reward?

It’s not that I don’t believe in it, I truly do.

Then I stumbled upon Hebrews 4 over breakfast and it gave me a little piece of the puzzled, delivered neatly to my peanut butter smeared dinette table.

“The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.” ~The Message

Although yes, there are references to streets of gold, bejeweled buildings and crowns, I think it’s really about being done with striving, a place of rest.  And end to our continuous search to fill our God shaped hole.

No more paying bills or anti depressants, no more counseling appointments that didn’t pan out or broken down mini-vans.  No more wondering if we are enough or hoping other people will receive our hearts with grace.  Rest.  Peace.  Wholeness.  Restoration.

That is a hereafter I can believe in and even long for.

When you look at the most basic breakdown of the bible it’s this:

Creation and wholeness lead to Sin & Brokenness.  God choose his people and promised his son, they strayed and were exiled.  Christ was born, and modeled the perfect way to live.  He gave himself over to death, and then HE BEAT IT.  He returned to his father and left us his Spirit and a promise that he would be back finish it all up.

Heaven is the final piece of the puzzle, the story tells us that behind all the images of golden streets and crystal fountains, it’s basically “us” back at the beginning, fully restored to our whole, original selves.  Living fully redeemed and connected to the one that our insides are truly longing for.

I think this verse also speaks to God’s call upon us to practice Sabbath, a rhythm that he started the second he was done creating the universe.  In today’s culture we groan about the thought of taking an entire day off, we label it is unfeasible and unnecessary.

Is this verse telling us that sabbath is one of the ways that we can get a glimpse of heaven on earth?  A day of rest that brings us back to the beginning, God calling us to be just who he created us to be, to commune, to give up our striving one day a week and just be the child he made us to be.

Maybe we can bring heaven be enjoying a long meal with friends, a good book on the patio, a long nap in a cool bedroom, a few hours pruning roses, a game of golf with family.  Maybe sabbath connects us to heaven by helping us believe that the busy, striving world can go on without us for a day.

Because it will have to go on without us permanently when we transition to heaven, won’t it?

The more time I spend reflecting on what Heaven really is, the more comfortable I become with it, the more I do long for it.  A place of rest and total connection with our savior which result in worship through our very being.

We get to be fully who we are and fully in relationship with the one our hearts yearn for.

That’s where my parents and grandparents are, that’s what lost friends and loved ones are enjoying.

Wholeness, Shalom, Rest.

I’ll take that after a bejeweled crown any day.

Tell me about your heaven.

  • Jill

    Another great post Leanne. I think it is so interesting how that passage says “let us make every effort to enter that rest” because ‘making an effort’ seems like a strange thing to do in order to ‘rest.’ A paradox, perhaps? But then again- what I long for in heaven two things 1) no more tears and 2) casting down of golden crowns.

    So I guess for me, making an effort to enter heavenly rest is working toward shalom on earth. Wiping away the tears of those in my life- I especially think of my son in Russia. And then the casting down of golden crowns: making every effort toward humility. Refusing to make life a competition or compare myself to others.

    John and I were just talking about this on Saturday: if we ever feel like we’ve gotten to a place where life on earth is so good that we think something like, “I hope I can live the rest of my life before Jesus comes back!” then we better go put ourselves in the face of some kind of evil and start working toward shalom. Because life on earth should never be better than our hope for heaven. And if it is, we’ve just put a golden crown on our head and shut our ears to the cries of the world. God forgive me if I ever get to a place where I stop praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

    Sorry for the novel! Might have to write my own post on this topic! ha. Once again- thank you for the inspiriting post!

    • leannepenny

      Oh wow Jill, you just challenged me in so many different ways. I love this, the thought of casting down our crowns. Before now it was only just a line in a hymn but now, so much more.

      • Mark Allman

        I guess Leanne I am looking forward to when the ones I love so dearly are not hurting anymore and the hurt I have caused no longer carries consequences. To the time we do not have to worry about another hammer dropping or when sin is going to raise it’s ugly head again. To when our shame of failures becomes shame no more. When the love and peace we so long for becomes so pure. When the battering of our lives and the sandpaper on our souls becomes a cool breeze and warm light. When being overwhelmed with life becomes being overwhelmed with just being in Heaven. When the race is over and no one cares who won because we stand in the presence of our Lord and Savior and our Father.

  • Joy

    Another beautiful post, my friend.
    I have been thinking about heaven quite a bit lately.
    Thank you for this.

  • Genevieve Thul @ Turquoise Gates

    I’ve never heard someone else refer to the “God-shaped hole”. My mother taught me that one and I’ve clung to it each time I’ve watched my own kids walk away from me wounded. I’m following…intrigued…wanting to get to know you better. Found you today through Addie Zierman.

    • leannepenny

      So glad to read this Genevieve, Can’t wait to get to know you better as well. Blessings on your weekend!!