If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
Do you ever think about heaven? I do. A lot, in fact. I dream about seeing my grandparents again; I wonder about work there, and if God will assign me to cuddle all the babies; I imagine Pippa, my precious pup, will be with me (her fur-brother, Cody, I’m not so sure…); I drool over heavenly cake (’cause there’s a wedding feast and who celebrates without cake?) My wondering goes on and on. And it’s always exciting. Except this one time, when an awful thought broke through, in the midst of everything good…
What if there are spiders in heaven?! I mean, if “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop” (as Elvis sang), and the Bible says spiders can be found even in king’s palaces, they’re everywhere! There’s no escape. And then it occurred to me, isn’t it funny how the devil tries to corrupt everything? Fear is a great tactic but imagine being afraid of heaven. There’s a clue I may have lost focus.
Thinking of heaven makes this world a little easier because, here, life is hard. Phobias abound, such as the fear of: being alone (Monophobia); failure (Atychiphobia); germs (Mysophibia); death (Thanatophobia). Even for believers, dying can be a scary thing because although we have the assurance of eternal life through Christ, nobody wants to suffer on the way out. We wouldn’t choose pain. But Jesus did. Think about it – He knew all along what was coming – the betrayal, the false accusations and verbal abuse, the spitting in His face, the pulling out of His beard, the whipping, the crowning, the piercing, the suffocation of hanging on the cross – ripped flesh, raw emotions, even God turned away… because of us, not Him. And yet Jesus …who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross… (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus didn’t just look around, He sought those things which are above. He knew when all was said and done, we would be rescued from ourselves and ultimately from hell, and He would be seated at the right hand of the Father. Because of Jesus, God need never turn away from us; and, all we endure here will be overshadowed in the end.
When I was a kid, it was pretty common to see hitchhikers holding a cardboard sign with a desired destination, such as “California or Bust”. That location was their ultimate goal, maybe their fresh start. Anyplace else would fall short of their dreams and be a failure – a bust. I don’t know what your journey looks like, but I do know this pilgrimage isn’t easy for any of us. Whatever obstacle the enemy is using to trap you, like a deer in headlights, doesn’t have to disable you. Look to heaven for rescue and relief. God will either clear the way or walk you through, with peace, to the other side.
Since our hopes and dreams can be as different and delicious as chocolate and vanilla, yet still not even scratch the surface of the perfection awaiting, let’s take a look at scripture to see what we really do know about heaven. There will be:
- an incorruptible inheritance (1 Peter 1:4);
- rewards for faithfulness and suffering (Matt. 6:4, Luke 6:23);
- a prepared home (John 14:2);
- an open gated community of pearls and gold (Rev. 21:21,25);
- a country and a city (Hebrews 11:16);
- unity, peace and safety (Isaiah 11:6)
- no more questions or needs (1 Cor. 13:12, John 16:23);
- no more death, sorrow, crying or pain (Rev. 21:4);
- Jesus, forever (1 Thes. 4:17).
Wow! How could we not long for and look to heaven? Here, we see dimly. Whether our concerns are silly or serious, perceived or palpable, one day, none of it will matter. As Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
If you’re a child of God, you know heaven is your final stop, but that’s no excuse to let this life be a bust. When you get home, Your Father’s going to ask all about your trip (though He already knows), “What did you do with Jesus?” If Christ’s sacrifice does not affect your daily living, now is the time to think about it. Ditch those killer companions of Anxiety or Depression and hitch a ride with the Holy Spirit! Examine your mind’s wanderings together – He will always direct you back to the Way, the Truth and the Life.
As for my ridiculous fear, (laugh if you will), I’ve come to the conclusion that if spiders are in heaven, I will love them because heaven is God’s and God is love. Don’t deny this girl her dreams. Don’t deny yourself those heavenly hopes either. It’s a great place to park your mind. Remember, as a warning and an encouragement, where your thoughts go, your feet follow.
“And some day yonder, we’ll never more wander, but walk on streets that are purest gold”