A Foretaste of EternityPosted March 29th, 2011
by Dexter Thomas
An informal survey was done at a church to find out who was excited about heaven. The seniors almost unanimously hoped that Christ would show up to take them home that very day. They had toiled long and hard in life. They had received the bitter blows of our cursed planet and now nothing was more precious than thinking of eternity with their Lord. They had had enough of their bodies riddled with pain and disease. “Come, Lord Jesus” was their daily plea.
On the other hand, ninety percent of the young adults preferred that Christ return sometime later—perhaps much later. Some wanted to experience marriage. Others said they would rather Christ return after they had bought their dream homes and cars.
Another group of young adults, in raw honesty, said that they didn’t really get the hype about His “coming.” For these, Christ’s coming wasn’t so much the issue as where he was planning to take them. Heaven? Floating around on clouds listening to angels play harps?
Well, you may remember that Mark Twain’s character Huckleberry Fin preferred hell—since that’s where it seemed like all the fun would be taking place. Of course, neither Huck nor Mark Twain, himself, may be the most reliable authority when it comes to the subject of heaven.
MAKING A LIST
So I searched my own heart as to why I might long for heaven, and I came up with a list:
• He will wipe away every tear; there will no longer be death; there will no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
• In that blessed land we’ll have streets of gold, gates of pearls, and brand new mansions prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-3).
• We’ll be transformed from people who grow old, get sick and die, to super human beings who never get tired and who live forever.
• No more headaches; no more wrinkles; no more heart breaks; no more drug addiction; no more hunger or homelessness.
• For me, as a physically challenged individual, I love it that in heaven, I’ll have eyes that can see; there will be no more blindness. Not only that, the lame will leap, the deaf will hear, and the tongue of the speech-impaired will be set free. No more braille; no more sign language. We’ll find people who have released their seeing-eye dogs and traded in aluminum walkers for hiking boots!
But I think the greatest joy of heaven for me will be Jesus, Himself.
When I reflect on the times when I’m the closest to God, my heart trembles in sheer ecstasy. Just think of drinking from that well that shall never run dry—sipping the water that causes us never to thirst again. Just imagine a state of joy and ecstasy multiplied by infinity for the rest of our eternal lives! Can you imagine that all the wonders you have experienced on earth are only a sneak peek into the glories that await us? Joys that never end, excitement that never grows dull, and a sweet eternal peace that fills our lives forever and ever!
Those who have tasted the goodness of God will not view the second coming of Christ as an interruption to a life of fun, but rather as life in all its abundance. It is unspeakable joy and delight. The best this earth has to offer is a mere shadow compared to what is to come.
A CURRENT DEMONSTRATION
Since heaven is a place where tears are wiped away, where suffering and death are ended, and where poverty, disease, and hunger are abolished, our excitement to enter that new world should be demonstrated now—right here on planet earth.
Since life in heaven will be an existence without tears, we should act to comfort and heal now. Since the realms of the blessed will be a place of justice, we should seek liberty and justice for all now. Since our heavenly dwelling will be filled with peace and harmony, we should act for peace now. Since heaven will be a place of abundance for all, we should be driven to feed the hungry now. Since the new earth will be a place where death is unknown, we should act now to fight disease and death.
As I have worked among the homeless and destitute in the city where I live, I have come to realize that the victories we experience on earth give our hearts hope and assurance to believe in the eternal blessings that await us. Our acts of kindness and love allow people to experience a foretaste of eternity. When we provide alternatives to an impoverished life, we are portraying for people a preview of the life to come?
People will believe in the resurrection when we help them to experience small, personal resurrections in their daily lives. People are unable to believe in an afterlife unless they can experience some aspect of it in this life. When we genuinely show care and compassion to the needy, we are offering a foretaste of life in the sweet by and by.
People can live through the challenges of this planet when, through experiencing acts of kindness, they see Jesus who promised a final destination where disease, disgrace, and destruction will be no more.
Can you, reader, pray this prayer with me?
Lord, may I not be so fixated on the future that I fail to make an impact in the present. May I be more active in providing a piece of heaven on earth for those around me today.