Heaven is a common word in the English language, often used to describe things of supreme happiness. We hear people say, “This ice cream is heaven,” or “The place we vacationed was heaven.” The term is intended to capture great delight. Or there is the well-worn phrase, “for heaven’s sake,” which is an expression used for emphasis or surprise.
On the other hand, thoughts of heaven can often conjure pictures of celestial beings with wings and halos, floating on clouds, harps in hand, strumming music of the gods. Art and entertainment regularly portray heaven as such. Others may picture heaven as a place where everyone is bowing before the throne of God and singing for all eternity.
I can’t help but think that these uses of the word and strange pictures of heaven are extremely flat, and may even diminish the dynamic realities of the Kingdom of God.
Heaven is real.
Heaven has become so incredibly and irrefutably tangible to me as I envision my precious treasure of a boy waiting for me there. Jud is not an angelic being, floating on a cloud, strumming a harp as his wings flutter. He is a vibrant, multi-faceted soul, shaped by his time here on earth, but no longer bound by sin and death.
So much is unknown and mysterious about heaven, yet I expect it will more closely resemble our current life here on earth than we tend to envision, but without the presence of evil-probably much like the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned (God did, in fact, call the Garden “paradise”). I am confident that I will have real relationship with Jud and other loved ones, and our praise of Almighty God will not be a rote eternal exercise but flow richly from our experience of perfect life and beauty.
Heaven is real and everything in this life pales in comparison. I long for paradise, and the day I arrive at eternity’s shore where death is just a memory and tears are no more.*
*Lyrics from the song Beautiful by Phil Wickham.