Do you ever feel afraid when you think about going to heaven? That’s a weird question, I know. I woke this morning thinking not so much about heaven exactly, as about eternity, about what happens when we die, about what it could be like to be somewhere forever…and ever. It may seem crazy to you but whenever I start thinking about that I begin to feel anxious. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s something my mind can’t grasp or understand. After all, I have no frame of reference. Everything in my life, and in this world, has a beginning and end. I was conceived and began as a cluster of cells multiplying and growing (a pretty huge miracle in itself). When my time has come, I will die and my heart will stop beating, my brain stop processing and thinking, and my physical body will give out. Each day has a beginning (the sun comes up) and an end (the sun goes down and the moon and stars appear). I wake and sleep. There are physical boundaries to my home, my town, my country, and my world. Once into space, however, it starts to become mind-boggling since there is no edge to the universe. Where does it end, if it ends and if it does, what’s on the outside of it? OH! I tell myself to just stop thinking about it, to stop trying to comprehend how it could be. The truth is, there is no way we can see the edge or end of the universe, and from what I’ve heard it keeps spreading, so infinity seems to be reality.
If you’re still reading this rambling post, bully for you! I needed to process this a little while. If we go to heaven and get to be with Jesus forever, for all eternity – what will that be like? There will be no end, right? Whoa, here come the anxious feelings again. How is that possible? I know, I know, God does the impossible all the time. He isn’t restrained by time like we are. We were meant to be like Him in that way until we chose disobedience and became infected by sin and death.
I try to console myself with the thought that if I’m with Jesus it will be good. I just can’t understand it. I have to accept it as the greatest mystery.
We went to see the “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” movie today from the Chronicles of Narnia. Great movie! If you’ve read the book and/or seen the movie, you know that at the end of the story Aslan the lion meets the main characters at the edge of the world, which is also the edge of and beginning of his country (heaven). It is beautiful: calm sea covered with millions of floating white lilies, gently lapping against a long white shore of soft, pure sand. The horizon stretches both ways as far as the eye can see. The sun is shining brightly. The scene seems to be the very picture of peace. Unfortunately, it’s not time for the children to enter Aslan’s country, so He sends them back to their world. They soon find themselves within the four walls of the small bedroom where they were before their adventure began. I felt a sense of longing to be back out in the sunshine at that lovely shoreline instead of confined in that old bedroom. You could tell, from their expressions, that they wished for that, too.
Maybe that’s the longing of our souls, deep down inside, more than we even realize. We were made for eternity, made to stand in the pure light of God, in open freedom, without boundary. In this life, it’s as if we’re confined to that small room. Could it be that longing can overtake my fears? I hope so.
I don’t have any answers about eternity, only questions and a lack of understanding. When I feel afraid I go to God and His Word. I remember that He is good. He is LOVE. He is holy and pure. There is no darkness in Him. He is trustworthy and faithful, strong and able. He is eternal Himself, limitless and vast beyond description. I guess if I will be spending eternity with a God like that, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
…all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. Romans 8:19-24 NLT