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photo of clock on spiral that never runs out of time b/c it is not round. foreground has revelation 22:5 written on it.

Photo by Canva

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Imagine living in heaven forever. It is difficult to even imagine what forever is like. If you have ever had chronic pain or pain that had no sign of going away, you get a taste of it. It is unrelenting. It never stops. It is miserable and doesn’t go away easily. Even when there is relief of the pain, it often is not totally gone. It just stops screaming at you and only moans in the corner. It is never quite gone.

Chronic pain gives us a negative taste of eternity

I went through chronic pain many years ago after a car accident. It was in the 1980’s. It was no fun. The remediation of the pain was almost as painful as the pain itself. It was awful! I had a bite plate for my mouth and every few weeks, the orthodontist would shave off just a bit from the bite plate and I would be down for a few days with pain…severe, usually on my left head and neck. I wondered if it would ever stop. But eventually, it would stabilize until the next month when he did the same thing. After awhile, I was stabilized with the help of the bite plate, physical therapy exercises, counseling, and relaxation techniques to help the pain as well. (Those were the 3 from the list of about 10 resources he gave me to try out. Each person finds a different combo that works for them. At the time, I had no idea how complex pain and pain relief was!) This negative illustration gave me a taste of what eternity would feel like.

My positive experiences of eternity don’t exist. Positive and pleasurable experiences seem to fly in a flash!

But I don’t have a positive illustration of what eternity will feel like. When have you had a wonderful life experience that gave you a taste of eternity? I never have! With happy or pleasurable life experiences, they always end before I want them to. They always go by faster than I want. It seems that the longer they have been planned, the faster they fly by! I can try to keep them alive in my memories, but that isn’t the same as a forever experience.

Heaven will never, ever end. Neither will it ever be boring. We won’t wake up one day and say, “I wish this were over!”

Heaven won’t be like that. We will be able to enjoy it. The pleasure and joy will not end. There won’t be any good-byes ever again. We will never have to cut visits short because of previous plans that require us to leave and fulfill other engagements. We won’t need to come up with excuses to leave because we are bored with visits either.

When we get there, we will feel at home right from the start. There will be no adjusting to it or getting oriented. It will feel like home right away. We won’t have clothes to unpack or furniture to get moved in. I don’t even know if we will have walls on our “homes.” We certainly won’t need them for security reasons. We won’t have marriages or individual families like we do now. But whatever we have will be better. For those who have healthy families, it may be hard to imagine anything better than a family. For the rest of us, it isn’t hard at all.

So as we work and create in this beautiful, wholesome place, it will be something to realize that this beautiful and lovely situation is not going to stop. It is going to keep going on forever and ever. Yet we won’t get bored…ever. By that, I don’t mean to say that we will in any way be stuck in our jobs. We won’t. There will still be a flexible creativity available that few of us have now.

We will be able to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in ways we never imagined here on earth

I don’t know if you remember the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: question 1: What is the chief end of man(kind)? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I Corinthians 10:31 ESV

We will be enjoying God in ways we haven’t even been able to enjoy Him here on earth. For one thing, we will be able to see Him face to face. There are often comparisons made to the new heavens and the new earth after Christ comes to the Garden of Eden. I wonder if that compares in the sense that Adam and Eve walked with God and visited with Him in ways we would visit with a revered friend, even though they knew He was their Creator.

I know I have shared my imaginings with you as just what they are. I think through other things the Bible teaches and build from there. But that doesn’t make my imaginings correct.

It’s important to remember that God will be central to our experience of heaven!

As you can tell, I’m imagining. I hope I’m not getting too far afield. I know that God will be very central to heaven and our experience of heaven. Probably way more than I have described in this series. As I have said earlier, as people who are bound to earth, it is difficult to imagine heaven or eternity. It is good for us to stop and think about it every so often in light of what we do know about heaven.

It is also good to think about eternity and what that means. The choices we make now determine where we will spend forever and forever and forever. It is a very long time.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 
through the middle of the street of the city;
also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.
The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
 No longer will there be anything accursed,
but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
 And night will be no more.
They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light,
and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:1-5 ESV