FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE

HEAVEN!  Do you realize how often that word is used?  I just went on line and scrolled through an enormous list, too long to count, of Film, Book, and Song titles that include the word “heaven, and did you know that “heaven” is mentioned in 291 of Shakespeare’s works.

Then I think about how we often use the word heaven.  We express our exasperation with someone or something by exclaiming, “For heaven’s sake!”  We describe a vacation in Hawaii as “Heaven on earth.” When I moved into my new house, I remember saying, “I feel like I have died and gone to heaven.” I laugh about that one, for I have no idea how heaven feels.  We just use those phrases without really thinking or understanding.

We throw around the word “heaven” so casually.  It has just become a catchphrase.  In fact, for many people, these phrases have no real meaning. 

When we use the word heaven, are we thinking of the sky that surrounds us, or God’s dwelling place, or do we think of heaven at all?

A few mornings past, I awoke thinking about heaven.  Really, I had been dreaming about this blog and how I would put it together.  I looked out my office window at the blue heaven in which our earth is suspended, and I remembered Genesis 1:8, where God first spoke of “heaven.”

We are told that God made the firmament or the “sky,” and He called it heaven.  He was speaking of the heaven with which we are so familiar—the heaven where the birds fly, the clouds form, and astronauts have actually walked.  In the same chapter, we are told that God also made the sun, moon, and stars, and placed them in the heaven He had created.

Through centuries of study and exploration, we have learned a great deal about the heaven that surrounds us.  In fact, the USA has spent $650 billion or, when you consider inflation, closer to $1.17 Trillion on our space program.

Stephen Hawking, the British Scientist, who taught the world about the universe, was a passionate advocate for space exploration.  He stressed that the long term future of the human race must be in space.  “We must not have all our eggs in one basket,” he said. “But we must expand beyond our birth planet or face extinction.”

Hawking was an atheist.  He cared about the human race, I guess, but he had no concept of the immortal human soul.  He declared, “There is no God.” Neither did he believe in life after death, nor a place called heaven.  Hawking is quoted as saying, “Heaven is a fairy tale for people who are afraid of the dark.” 

I have heard about heaven all my life.  I heard it preached and taught hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  I have sung, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” and “When We All Get to Heaven” until I can sing those songs in my sleep.  I believe in heaven, as do all those who love and fear God.

Jesus said, John 14:2, 3 “…I go to prepare a place for you…and…I will come again and receive you…that where I am, (in heaven) there you may be also.”  

Heaven is a real place.  I’m as sure of it as I am my own name. Jesus will come back, and I am going to spend eternity in heaven with Him.

However, Jesus made that promise more than two thousand years ago, and still, He hasn’t come.  I wonder at times if we have heard it so often that it sort of becomes like a fairy tale to us.  It may seem like it’s never going to happen.

Cynics ridicule our hope of heaven and eternal life.  They laughingly call it “Pie in the Sky,” meaning that heaven is pleasant to think about, but very unlikely to ever be realized.

The Apostle Peter tells us that in the last days unbelievers will mock saying, (The Message) “So what’s happened to the promise of His coming?  …everything’s going on just as it has from the first day of creation.  Nothing has changed.” II Peter 3:4.

We don’t really know a lot about heaven, or what life will be like there.  Revelation 21 describes an enormous city, 15,000 miles in length, width, and height.  Imagine a city with streets of gold, gates of pearl, and foundations adorned with precious gems.  A River of Life flows down the middle of the street, and there is no night there, neither sickness, nor crying, nor sorrow. 

Though my tiny little mind can’t really comprehend it, still I believe every bit of that. Laugh at me if you wish.  Talk about “Pie in the Sky,” if you like.  Your cynicism changes nothing.

Yes, heaven is a beautiful place, but its physical beauty is immaterial when you consider that Jesus, Himself, will be there, and His beauty will outshine all other splendor.

Hebrews 9:28 says, “…To those who eagerly wait for Him, He shall appear a second time…”

Don’t give up hope.  Be eager for His coming.  Heaven is not a fairy tale.  Heaven is real, and His coming is real.  It could be today.

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!