All my life I have heard about Heaven. I have heard various Pastors and teachers talk on and on about various aspects of Heaven and, as I am prone to do, I began to doubt if they really knew what they were talking about.
I remember as a child thinking of the "streets of pure gold " which are promised and thought, "How could we walk on them?" I have heard that pure gold is soft and has to have other metals mixed with it in order to give it hardness for wear-ability, in jewelry for instance. Of course, I was thinking of being in my present body when I get there. The Preachers also talked long (and loud!) about gates of pearl and I wondered why anybody would want a gate made of pearl and indeed why Heaven would even need a gate (probably symbolizes security). I guess I was a literalist unless told, “what I was hearing was not necessarily meant to be taken literally.”
Some other descriptions really piqued my interest however. When my Pastor talked of the River of Life I could picture a beautiful river winding gently through a nice warm land with people and animals lying on the banks (no chiggers) enjoying the warmness of the sun and having no need for suntan lotion. I also pictured this river literally providing life, not only for those who drank from it but through a system of canals, giving life to the whole countryside. There would most likely be neither rain nor need for rain because that would keep the people from being out in the warm, life-giving light.
I heard that there will be no need for light because the Lord will provide the light or "The Lord Himself will be the light". That made some sense to me as a child but later it made a lot more sense when I realized that not only does the Lord provide the light in a literal sense (we can't conceive a place where there is no light as we know it) but more importantly, in a spiritual sense. Of course, as we learn more about light and how it may provide almost limitless energy for us on the Earth in the future, we can see an even greater application in this sense in Heaven. We will have a limitless source of energy, which will be provided by the Lord, whether it is literal light (energy as we know it,) or spiritual light (we shall know as we are known). It really makes no difference as far as I am concerned because the Lord will provide it.
The last two ideas I remember hearing discussed and about which I have read, are the greatest source of joy for me. Revelation tells us that the Lord will "wipe away all tears". To me, that is such a marvelous concept that I can't fully grasp it. There has been so many times in my life when I have wept tears that came from a broken heart, that I can scarcely conceive of a place or a situation in which there would be neither need nor stimulus for tears or sorrow. Just think, no more loss, no more disappointments, and no feelings of sadness. What a wonderful benefit of Heaven, in the absolute presence of God!
The last I will mention is the statement that "The lion will lie down with the lamb". For a while that meant little to me because I simply couldn't imagine a helpless lamb resting or taking a nap with a lion which is one of the most ferocious beasts on Earth and that eats lambs! It made absolutely no sense to me. As I have lived a few more years (I am now, 8/1/05, age 75) I can now "see" that scene much more clearly. With all the violence, hatred and mistrust in our world, I want very badly to be that lamb and take a nap, using the soft belly of a lion as a pillow. I would like to be able to rest at the den of a rattlesnake (I really can't imagine that!), I want to have a tiger for a house pet and not be afraid he would eat the dog---or me! In other words, I want to live in a peaceful place where there is no fear of being harmed, where my wife can be an hour late getting home and I will see no need of calling to see if she is all right in a world that has gone mad.
In short, I really don't know what Heaven is like but I imagine a place where there is peace, safety and complete good in the full presence of God, with no fear, no mistrust, no sorrow, no illness, no aching joints; just the joy of being with Him and all his people, whatever that entails. When this happens there will be no end of it. No more parting with our loved family and friends, "and thus we shall ever be with the Lord". I don't really want to go right away but when the Lord calls I will welcome it! "Even so come, Lord Jesus".
© 2005 William Oren Adams
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