The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland has 37,000 gigantic, geometrically perfect polygon columns. Have you been there? They’re extraordinary. But back before photographs, television and the Internet, it was hard to believe in and imagine far off places. “Surely you’re exaggerating about those columns?” “Surely they were made from concrete moulds?” Or else, “They don’t really exist and you’re making it all up!”
It’s a bit like that with heaven. Because we haven’t been there we’re tempted to doubt it’s goodness or wonder if it even exists. The writer C.S. Lewis had a helpful and funny insight about this in his book, Miracles,
I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No,’ he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.
So, the right response to wonderful things in this world is to see them as pointers to even greater things in the next. The great missionary of the Bible, Paul, wrote about this in a letter to Christians in the city of Corinth. He said
Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.
But if you’re a Christian, then you’ve already seen this. When we had no hope, God sent Jesus to give us the hope of friendship with him and forgiveness of our sins. Who of us could have predicted that through Jesus Christ, God would draw us so close that he would call us sons and daughters?
Further on in that same letter, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to focus on the most exciting prospect of heaven – being in the very presence of God himself.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
In heaven, the Bible says, there will be even be ‘no more death or sorrow’. These are exciting promises. Now it’s hard to wait!
Prayer: Dear God, thank you that the wonders of this creation point to even greater things in the age to come.
Bible: “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Corinthians 2:9)