Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTAND FIRM: Heaven is Better Than We Can Imagine

STAND FIRM: Heaven is Better Than We Can Imagine

This article may get me in trouble, but please read all the way through before making a conclusion on my fitness for pastoral ministry. In transparency, I’m just going to lay my cards out on the able here. Until recently, I haven’t always thought Heaven sounded all that great. Maybe I’m the only one, but in my life in church (30 years as a believer, and 25 years of preaching) my thoughts would echo country songs like Kenny Chesney’s “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven”: “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, have a mansion high above the clouds. Everybody want to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to go now.”

Or maybe Kane Brown’s “Heaven”: “Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout heaven like they just can’t wait to go. Sayin’ how it’s gonna be so good, so beautiful. Lyin’ next to you, in this bed with you, I ain’t convinced, ‘cause, I don’t know how, I don’t know how Heaven, Heaven could be better than this.”

Am I alone? Granted, Heaven always sounded far better than the alternative. Far better, but not always better than life now. Obviously, God, through His Word, exclaims Heaven is far better than this age. We’re called to die to self, knowing that the age beyond is far superior. Throughout history, believers have stood firm in the face of persecution, whether the loss of life or freedom, in full confidence that the reward ahead was far better.

I trust Scripture. I never thought I was being taught something that was not true, but I had a hard time wrapping my mind around all that would make Heaven all that great. That’s changed, but I want to wrestle with why I held those incorrect thoughts, just in case you feel like I did.

In my opinion, there are three leading reasons to why we might see Heaven as only better than the alternative. First, we have misconceptions about Heaven, and we keep circulating those misconceptions. Second, though we know some aspects of the age to come doctrinally, we rarely connect them with a pragmatism toward Heaven. Third, I believe we don’t think the Bible gives us many details of the age to come and we’re only left to live out the words of Mercy Me’s hit song, “I Can Only Imagine.” That is false though, we don’t have to merely imagine Heaven because the Bible tells a lot about the age to come. In the process of this series of articles, I hope to expose the details given in Scripture that we don’t always connect to Heaven and, in doing so, we’ll be convinced that Heaven is better than we can imagine.

In this article, I want to begin with misconceptions. I don’t know yours or if you have any, but I sure did. Again, please read to the end, but here are some of the misconceptions I have had:

• Misconception 1: Heaven is Only for Healing — This first point isn’t a misconception, but if that is all we know about it, then we are left less than enthused. I have always known the promise in Revelation 21, that in Heaven there would be no more pain, no more suffering and no more tears. That is amazing, but it is only amazing if we’re in pain, suffering and in painful situations. We all will be at some point, but as long as we’re not in such trials, and if that’s all we view about Heaven, we will definitely feel like Kenny Chesney.

• Misconception 2: Heaven is an Eternal Church Service — I love church. I’ve given my life to the Lord through church work, but an eternal, unending church service sounds terrible. Again, it is far better than a lake of fire, but anything is, right? Also, there will be nonstop worship for we will see the Lord, but worship isn’t just a church service. In the details of the age to come in Scripture we do far more than sit in a pew perpetually.

• Misconception 3: Heaven is an Eternal Family Reunion — I love my family, and I enjoy family reunions. One of the amazing perks of Heaven to me has always been that we will be reunited with saved loved ones, but even an eternal family reunion doesn’t sound exhilarating. Sounds like it would get old. Some of you don’t even like your family, and it sounds terrible. As an introvert, that eternal awkwardness I have gatherings is almost frightening. When I think of family reunions, I think of horseshoes, fried chicken, tator logs and chocolate pie. The pie does sound eternal rewardish, but even it might get old. Again, Scripture tells us about an age to come that goes beyond the reunions.

• Misconception 4: Heaven is an Eternal City Life — I’m not opposed to city life, but I love the outdoors. The idea of being cooped up in a city for eternity brings on a sense of claustrophobia, even though the city has streets of gold and gates made of pearl. Again, though Revelation 21 tells of the amazing New Jerusalem, it also gives details of a new Edenic Earth. More about that later.

• Misconception 5: Heaven is an Eternal Floating on Clouds — One of the pictures I’ve had of Heaven is eternally floating on clouds and playing harps. Clearly, this isn’t the biblical age to come, but still that image has been in my mind.

Again, maybe I’m alone in these misconceptions, but in further Bible study, I have found the Scriptures tell much more about the age to come. Over the next few articles, I’d like to tell you about them — starting with the verse that opened my eyes!

— Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (