Solar eclipses are an amazing phenomenon. As the moon slides between the earth and the sun, the sun’s brilliance gradually fades. Its light grows dim, as if there’s a layer of dust on everything you see. The effect is most dramatic on a bright cloudless day. While the eclipse is in full force, it’s easy to forget that the sun is still there in all its force and glory.
As amazing as a solar eclipse may be, more amazing is the fact that as followers of Jesus we often live with heaven eclipsed in our hearts. I don’t know what you think of when you think of heaven, but count on it, heaven is a glorious destination and, as Paul described, because of Christ’s presence there, it is far better than anything we could experience here (Philippians 1:23).
But heaven’s glory and the excitement of getting there often fades in the light of our dim view of heaven and the lure of lesser stuff here on earth.
If the word heaven evokes images of an eternity lounging on clouds, plucking out melodies on a harp, adjusting our halos, and singing in a choir, then no wonder that the brilliance of heaven may be going through an eclipse in your heart. It’s hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm if we think that heaven will be boring! But believe me, the God who died for you is not planning an eternity of boring assignments for you!
If your thoughts about what heaven may be like aren’t distorted, then you’re not necessarily off the hook. Heaven is often eclipsed in our hearts by the lure and glitter of earth-side stuff. It’s easy to think we can create heaven on earth by stacking up all that we think will make us happy and comfortable. Only to find that the initial thrill of it all quickly wears off as we disappointingly discover that there is no such thing as heaven on earth.
So let’s dismiss our twisted thoughts about heaven and forget trying to make heaven here on earth. Getting heaven in clear view starts by focusing on what we do know to be true about heaven. Your first thoughts no doubt are about streets of gold and gates of pearl. As spectacular as that might be, they are not the draw of heaven. We get used to stuff like that. The real excitement of heaven will be our eternal delight in living in the unveiled presence of Jesus, our Savior and friend! No matter how nice the place, it’s the people in the place who make the place—and in this place it is the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth that will fill our hearts with delight and unfading joy. It’s the way it was meant to be before sin raped the landscape of our existence. It’s Eden all over again!
In this city there will be no power outages! Our text today tells us, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev. 21:23). And this Lamb, who conquered death, guarantees that there will be no more sorrow, death, or dying. In fact, He Himself will wipe away all our tears (Rev. 21:4)!
Photo sources : National Geographic Magazine