In his book entitled Heaven, author Randy Alcorn mentions a conversation he had with a fellow pastor about heaven. His friend said, “‘Whenever I think about heaven, it makes me depressed. I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.’ ‘Why?’ I asked. He said, ‘I can’t stand the thought of that endless tedium. To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp . . . it’s all so terribly boring. Heaven doesn’t sound much better than Hell. I’d rather be annihilated than spend eternity in a place like that.’”
This man was a Bible-believing, seminary-educated pastor. Where in the world would he get the idea that heaven would be boring? Certainly not from the Bible! God has given us His Word to instruct us about ALL aspects of life—even the afterlife.
On Sunday morning I preached a message from 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, and in this passage Paul talks about our resurrection bodies. He is instructing his readers about the fact that this present body that we have, broken as it is physically, emotionally, and mentally, is merely a tent—it is temporary. Yet, in heaven a Christian will have a building from God—a permanent, eternal, indestructible, glorified body.
In our eternal state there will be no impure thoughts, no broken relationships, no Alzheimer’s, no pinched nerves, no knee replacements, no ventilators, no stillbirths, no addictions, no adultery, no spousal abuse, no financial hardships, no car wrecks, no persecution…
Still, in this life, in our current bodies we groan. Paul says in verses 2 & 4:
in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling… For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened. Presently, we groan, we are burdened because of the pain of this earth, and sometimes our groaning can turn ugly. Sometimes we can even see God as our Enemy.
Job, a righteous & upstanding man, who suffered greatly, said this about God:
“And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured; it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you for help & you don’t answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.
You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.
Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me.
In the midst of our pain, especially in intense suffering, we say things that we are sometimes ashamed of. Yet, God was big enough to shoulder the cries of Job, and He is big enough to hear your anger, too! In our suffering, God realizes that we more than anything we long to know that HE is with us, and so when we come unglued before Him, He can tolerate it. And He will answer in His time.
Lastly, in verse 5, Paul says that it is God Himself who is preparing us for this future body, and He has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee that it will take place. When you feel like you can’t make it any longer because the pain is so intense, but you find yourself still crying out to God, still seeking Him, still longing for Him, that is evidence that His Holy Spirit resides within your heart, that He is at work in your pain. Seeing the persevering presence of the Spirit in your life is intended to bring you comfort that HE IS WITH YOU, AND HIS PRESENCE IS A GUARANTEE THAT ALL OF OUR PAIN WILL ONE DAY BE CONVERTED INTO UNTOLD GLORY AND JOY!!
1 Peter 1:3-9 states: 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time… Even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Christian, one day all of your troubles in this life will seem like a mere shadow compared to the glory that will be revealed to us and in us.
Believe that today.