My children are growing up in Florida, where we experience no visible signs of either fall, winter, or (arguably) spring. October or April, the landscape looks the same. It occurred to me last month, when reading books to my kids about autumn in 97 degree weather, that fall must seem like fiction to them. To a Floridian kid, the idea of changing leaves or the concept of snow must be unbelievable. Rainbow forests and blankets of ice crystals belong in a land of unicorns to someone who has never seen them. It would be so difficult to even try to describe the feeling of “crisp” air or the entrancing, quiet beauty of frosted pine needles.
This was the apostle John’s dilemma when he was given a vision of heaven and Jesus and the task of describing these lofty things to a people who had never seen anything even close. The word “like” is used liberally in Revelation because our brains don’t have categories for a voice that sounds “like a trumpet” or Someone seated on the throne with “the appearance of jasper” or a city so pure it’s “like clear glass,” its “radiance like a most rare jewel.”
Could we dare, then, on our long journey to Heaven, to allow ourselves to daydream about it? Isn’t it suspicious that the Church is so preoccupied with the age of the earth or the timing of the tribulation, but we haven’t thought much about what we will be doing and eating and playing and exploring ten million years from now?
How fun–and even life-changing–it is to imagine this Home we can’t accurately describe.
If we believe that one day we will get to explore mountain ranges and natural wonders that resemble but redeem Earth’s greatest places, maybe our bucket list can shrink a little and our wanderlust can take a backseat to generosity and service.
If we believe that one day we will enjoy food perfectly—redeemed Krispy Kreme doughnuts, can you imagine?—we can maybe show some self-control in the ice cream aisle now.
If we believe that one day we will enjoy perfect friendships with all the children of God throughout history, then maybe it’s okay that we aren’t BFF’s with Christian “celebrities” that we admire…and maybe we could be a little nicer to the nosy church people with whom we’ll be spending eternity.
If we believe that one day, animals themselves will be set free from their bondage, we can go to the zoo and whisper to the most fearsome animals, “I’m going to snuggle with you someday.”
I’ve got plenty of my own ideas stored up, like eating lots of cake and riding on cheetahs and inventing amazing things. I dream of hanging out with people like Harriet Tubman and Rahab and brothers and sisters throughout world history who died in anonymity and whose stories I really, really want to hear. Maybe I’ll even learn calculus. (Redeemed calculus!)
If we believe that our hearts are longing for something that we haven’t seen yet—a Home that we’ve never even visited—maybe we can expect a little less from this world and hope a whole lot more in the world to come. Maybe we can feel free to serve our neighbors with all we have now, as exiles in this land that is decidedly not Home, while we wait and groan for the place that will be right in all the ways we never even knew to hope for.
Friends, will you daydream with me about Heaven today?
Featured photo by photoangel