Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thinking on Heaven

I can’t think of anything more impossible than a human being trying to imagine what Heaven will be like. An awful lot of people think about it habitually, particularly true followers of Christ. I am sure our thoughts all run a whole spectrum of images and reflections, but how can an earthly mind even begin to comprehend the eternal and the perfect?

This is one of those fine Spring mornings when my heart is still, the sun is soft and the breeze delicious and fresh. In the wee hours of the morning a tremendous storm cell rolled through our area and surrounding counties, lashing rain upon earth that has been parched from a warm winter, and splitting the clouds with thunder that shook the foundations of our homes. Lightning lit the skies like daytime. As so often happens after just such a storm the day dawned bright and clear. It is the kind of day in which I could be still all day, just feeling the breeze and listening to the birdsong, not saying a word. The calm in my heart and mind is yet unaffected by the cares of the day or the world.

Additionally, some friends posted photos taken in Nepal, where they are doing language surveys in remote Himalayan villages. Ben and Holly are abundantly blessed with God-given talents, and Ben’s photos are National Geographic-worthy, to say the least. He is also somewhat of a purist, relying on the knowledge he has gained and his experience behind the camera to capture the pure heart of each scene. In this age of digital revolution when any person can manipulate an image into seeming perfection, Ben’s photos are beautiful and technically wondrous just as they are; the images are minimally manipulated if at all. This morning I came across this photo, and it was so overwhelmingly beautiful I didn’t even look at the rest; it is difficult to take in so much beauty all at once. (Please click on this photo to make is larger)

Now I think of the best this earth has to offer: I try to imagine standing on that mountain in Nepal, with the stunning beauty of the Kiev Chamber Choir singing ‘Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul’ (one of the few pieces of music on this earth that will move me to tears EVERY time. Sometimes even when I am only thinking about it…like now…) ringing in my ears, with this morning’s ambrosial breeze on my face, and my mind quiet and at peace. I can’t help but to think that Heaven has got to be like this. I let myself bask in that thought for about a minute before I venture forward in my thoughts a little more. I know, intellectually, that Heaven will be nothing like this. It is so far beyond the best of this imperfect world that I cannot even reckon it. Then there is that final thought, the subject of Jesus.

I am working my way through Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love,” and it is a wonderful book. Within the narrative he puts forth this challenge: If every one of our favorite and most amazing things will be waiting for us in Heaven, but there is no Jesus, will we still want to go? It is a perfectly legitimate question. We as Christians are called to be so in love with Jesus that NONE of the rest of this stuff, as amazing and visceral as it all is, matters. What only matters is to be with Him, the Author of our salvation. After all, this is why we were saved (if we are) in the first place, to gain access to the God of Heaven and of Earth. (Ephesians 2:5-7)

So we might think, when considering these awesome earthly wonders, that it does not get any better than this. Our mind cannot comprehend what it does not know.

‘But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"—‘ I Corinthians 2:9

So I soak in the light, and bask in the beauty of the day….and think about the time when it will be unimaginably better…even better than this.

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