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