In recent months, my visits to Starbucks have included reading my cup for the “Way I See It” quote. Starbucks has gathered quotes from well-known and lesser known people and shared their ideas on the cups. Some quotes are average while others have caught my eye. One quote that stood out was The Way I See It #230. Joel Stein, a columnist for the LA Times and contributor to Time Magazine, made the following statement:
Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.
I’m not sure what Bible Joel is reading (or if he’s reading one at all), but his description of Heaven is off base from what the Bible says.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that people will be sitting on clouds, wearing halos and listening to people play the harp. That is the Heaven concocted by Warner Bros. for their cartoons. Instead, Heaven is a place where Christians will live, serve, and worship God. Jesus speaks of it in John 14:2-3, where He said
In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Some Bible versions use the word “mansions” instead of “rooms”, but the idea is similar. We’ll all be together in a place that is huge and we’ll be with God. We’ll all get along and live in community with one another.
God is the creator of the Earth, the universe and everything that we see. If you’ve ever noticed the vastness of Yosemite, the lovely colors of the leaves in fall, or the beauty of a fellow human being, you’ve seen God’s creation. If He can create all of those things, would you not think that Heaven would be even greater, more beautiful and more awe inspiring? I think it will be exactly that. It will be better than the most amazing day you could ever imagine. Better than having all you ever wanted, everything you ever needed, and the best food at every meal.
Another description of Heaven by Jesus is in Matthew 13:44-46.
The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold everything he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Is there anything in your life you consider so precious that you would be willing to sell everything you have to buy it? I’m talking about everything. All your possessions, your car, your clothes, your knick-knacks, your pictures on the wall…everything. Is there anything worth that much to you? Well, Jesus said that Heaven is worth all you have. Can you imagine something that precious, that amazing, and that powerful? Even though you cannot buy your way into Heaven, it is a place more amazing than anything you can ever imagine.
The Bible does not describe the intricate details about what Heaven will be like because I don’t think our human minds could fully comprehend it’s greatness. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.
In spite of our inability to understand everything God is preparing for us, we can be confident in the fact that He is indeed preparing something amazing. It will be a place of great joy and where our rewards are being held.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven. (Luke 6:23)
We will have some type of tasks to do in Heaven. It won’t just be about sitting around God, looking up at Him on His throne and telling Him how amazing He is. Don’t get me wrong, we will be praising Him in all we do, but I’m sure He’ll have more for us to do than that. It won’t be a boring time, especially since we’ll be there for eternity.
Heaven will also be a place where mourning and sadness do not exist:
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:3-4)
So, unlike what Joel Stein stated, Heaven isn’t just better than Hell, a place where there will be utter destruction, sadness, pain, and separation from God for all eternity. Heaven far exceeds his description and then some. I would not want to mess with my eternity by hoping that Hell is only slightly worse than Heaven. Any place where you are separated from God is utter despair, darkness, and eternal damnation. You won’t know how bad that is until you get there. Just as the joys of Heaven cannot be fully described, I think the same can be said for the punishment in Hell.
In essence, Heaven is a place where nothing negative will exist; a place where we will worship God and He will live among us; a place where we can ask Him all the questions we’ve been wondering about and He will take all the time needed to answer them; an astounding, awesome place that I cannot wait to go. Of course, only God knows the day in which I will join Him there and it’s not my responsibility to worry about that or take my life into my own hands. I can trust Him to use me for His purposes while I’m still on Earth and take me to my heavenly home when my task here is complete.
Of course, there is one stipulation before you can go to Heaven. You don’t have to do more good things than bad, you can do nothing to earn your way into Heaven, and it doesn’t matter if you just believe God exists. Even Satan believes He exists since he is a fallen angel that wanted to have equality with God and was therefore cast out of Heaven. All you have to do is realize your need for Jesus in your life, ask for forgiveness from all the wrongs you commit and accept God’s free gift of salvation. It’s pretty easy, really. You have to realize that you are not in control of your own life; that God loves you and that Jesus, His Son, died to save you from the punishment you deserve for all the bad things you have done or will ever do. Until you accept Jesus as the Son of God, who is the only one that can save you, and turn away from the life you’re currently leading, you will not be on a path toward Heaven. It’s up to you. God is holding out His gift to you and all you have to do is take it. If you have not already accepted His gift and would like to, you can pray this prayer:
I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
See you in Heaven.