From the distance of a couple of thousand years, we get to experience the emotion of the Apostle Paul as he wrangles with, and woos, the Corinthians in the second canonical letter to them. This emotion creates a cherished richness in the reading. Many marvellous concepts are introduced, illustrated, and imagined.
The hope of a life far away, yet never closer, is elucidated:
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
~2 Corinthians 5:1 (NRSV)
Being a tent maker by vocation, as a way of supporting himself as he ministered from his apostolic office, Paul was in a good position to note the polar difference between the physical body, a tent, and a more marvellous dwelling, one we are still yet to behold. Paul imagined a place in the heavens where there would be no more groaning; no more decay; no more conflict.
Reflecting Over What Heaven Could Be Like
Some may think it a waste of time to create an array of images representing heaven; the truth is, if we spent every waking moment doing that, this side of eternity, we still couldn’t do justice to it.
What is too marvellous and too unimaginable is too good to resist—for the heaven seeker.
And we value life so much in the here-and-now; even the most ardent of Christians does not wish to depart—there is still much to live for. But in comparison to the blessings we achieve for the hope we enjoy in this physical place, there is volumes more in the realm of blessing in the world to come—a dimensional rich in community; so much more than what it is here.
Of course, the presence, penalty for and power of sin will be expunged, replaced by the presence, blessing and power of the Lord.
Replacing Fear With The Wonder Of Awe For What Might Become
Up until the present moment we know, from history, what has taken place. The future affords us no such certainty. The future extends past the realm of time into eternity; none of us can know just how good heaven could be.
And if we enjoy our lives here, we should all-the-more enjoy our lives there. We should have no fear for what we leave behind, the tent and its hard ground to sleep on, and our camping partners. We shall swap a rough living situation with something palatial.
Thoughts of heaven soothe the psyche because there is a hope ahead we can’t quite grasp. It will be truly wondrous compared with how we can imagine it. The perfect community, heaven will feature the absence of any form of sin. There we will be completely safe, completely free, and completely whole.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.