Sometimes I’m taken aback by the reaction of Christians to the death of another believer. I don’t mean the normal sense of loss, grief, sadness and sympathy for the family and friends – those things I understand very, very well.
Those reactions are part of our human nature. We lose our mother, father, husband, child, friend, and we feel the dreadfully empty hole where they used to be.
No, what I’m talking about is the other regret they sometimes express, that now that person won’t have a chance to see another beautiful sunset, or see their grandchildren all grown up and successful, or experience the grandeur of a vacation in some spectacular place, even spiritual ones in a place like Israel.
As if those things are the very best God ever created and now those opportunities are gone forever.
As if death was the end of our lives.
If we believe God’s word, gorgeous sunsets and spectacular views of the Grand Canyon are nothing compared to what’s available in heaven.
Heaven isn’t imaginary. It’s a real place with real buildings and grass and trees, and at least one really big city.
There are real things to learn, real work to do, real friends and family to re-connect with, real Father God to praise and worship, real Holy Spirit to be mentored and trained by, and real Jesus to fellowship with and learn from!
To listen to some believers talk, you’d think heaven is sort of fuzzy, foggy, and wispy. Insubstantial. Or a second-rate, broken-down, dull and boring place with nothing exciting to see or do. I understand their poor perception of it. I used to think that way too.
I think heaven is more of a high-tech educational and training facility and an ultra-spectacular worship facility. Full of excitement, creativity, discovery, a never a dull moment kind of place. And for now, a temporary one.
Think about it a minute. In 500 years, where will we be? If I read the scriptures right, none of us will be in heaven at all.
We’ll all be here on the earth in the midst of the thousand year reign of Christ. We’ll be carrying out whatever assignment God has for each individual believer.
Some may be repairing environmental damage. Some may be involved in research, others in administration. Some may be explorers, traveling in space. Some may be building new infrastructure and new habitats, and others may be managing those things.
And that’s nothing to be regretful about.