Monday, December 11, 2017

What is Heaven Like? A Glimpse of Delightful Maybe

Heaven? No, this is in Hunterdon County,
New Jersey.
Last week I dreamed that I got a taste of the restored heavens and earth- one sweet day of Jesus showing me what every day will be like after He returns. My house was transformed into an incredible, majestic, beautiful, but cozy and wonderful apartment, with soaring stone ceilings and arches and lots of light pouring through. Tons and tons of books on dark wooden shelves reaching high up. Cozy places to sit and read below, and rich carpets.  A kind of place I have never seen before- beauty and majesty and coziness combined, that was extremely livable, not cold and impersonal or too elegant to touch.

I looked out the window to where there was a corridor of forest close at hand, deep green evergreens, and just beyond that, reaching so high I had to stretch my head up, were the walls of the palace, with many windows (many of them with colorful stained glass). They appeared to be made of smooth stone, and then high, high up, turrets and a bright sky and birds.  And I knew that many people lived there in beautiful "apartments,"  each one as cozy and beautiful and unique to the inhabitant as mine.

I went out for a drive—yes, a drive— though I don't remember at all what kind of vehicle I was in. I drove along a road that in our time had been crammed with gas stations and fast food joints and big box stores, but all that was gone. In its places was deep, thick, impenetrable forest.

But the best part about this day, was I only had to think of Jesus, and he would be just in the next room, waiting for me. I could run in and sit down next to him on the sofa and lay my head on his chest and rest there in utter contentment and happiness and relief and total satisfaction, just being with him.
Heaven? Close, but no: Baltimore County, MD

The next day came and everything returned to the normal present. I thought of Jesus and hoped against hope that when I ran into the living room he would be sitting there again. He was not, and my heart broke.  I knew he was with me in Spirit, but I longed to be with him in person again.

This dream has been lingering on my mind all week. The longing for that place and that Person has not left me.  This dream laid to rest so many thoughts and questions in my mind—such as the way the Bible talks about the heavenly city—but I detest the cities of our world so much it has been hard for me to imagine a city that I would actually like. Ha! This place was definitely a city, but indeed it was the city of the great King of heaven and earth where every breath was cool and fresh and forests are a part of His city, and all was the most refreshing beauty and delight. Filled with people that you would like to meet—every single one—and life and learning and doing, but not feeling at all crowded. I knew that there would be streets and workshops and artisans in leather aprons bending over their work and bringing forth wonderful and marvelous things. But the very best is the King of that City, a most majestic and beautiful God King, but a human one, a great friend, the most adored friend and beloved of everyone, walking the streets and visiting the apartments of his people, delighting in them and how they are delighting in the places He has made them and all the ways they are using their gifts and exploring and delighting in each other.
Heaven? Well... actually this is Oregon Ridge State Park in MD.

I share this hoping it fills you with as much warmth and hope as it does for me, and that it will stir up in you the same great longing for that King and Place that is so far from what we have now and yet right at hand.

If you'd like to read the very last two chapters of the Bible, which describe this Place and King and who will live there, here is a link to Revelation 21 & 22. It is an invitation and a warning. It is so easy to get there- there is only one thing you have to do, and that is make Jesus your King, the King of everything in your life- your soul, your money, your sexuality, your gifts, your decisions. When you do this He puts the very essence of Himself into you, the Holy Spirit, which cleans up everything evil and horrid inside you, and gives you the ability to live in a Kingdom where nothing evil and horrid is allowed inside. The warning is if you cling to what is evil and horrid and refuse to let Him be your King, than of course you cannot live there, because that is a place where evil and darkness and revenge and hatred and self-centeredness and greed and violence are gone forever, and only love and joy in the King and all his people and his works can be allowed to exist. Don't cling to rulership of yourself! Come with me and dance in the joy of belonging to the King and putting away obsession with self forever.
We must be getting close now! -Little village bakery
somewhere in Quebec where we ate everything.

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