A few years ago I led a Bible study on Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. I’d been a believer for many years, yet I’d never fully researched what the Bible had to say about our future home (or more precisely, the New Heaven and New Earth). To let you know just how powerful this study was, one of the girls in my study, Laura, came to me about a year later and said that her grandmother had just died, but that she was so comforted and encouraged because she more fully understood where she was and the hope that she has to see her again.
Sadly, many of us have a faulty view of what Heaven will be like; somehow, we’ve believed it to be a boring existence where we’ll wear white robes, strum harps, and float on clouds. Nothing could be further from the truth! God is going to remake this Earth and Heaven (thus, the term New Heaven and New Earth) and those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus will live forever with Him there. Essentially, the best that this world has to offer right now—the beauty and grandeur on this Earth—will be magnified in the New Earth. When God remakes it, there will be no more sin, so anything that is faulty in our current world will be removed and we will live in pure perfection.
It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? No pain, no inconvenience, nothing horrible, no ickiness. Only pure goodness.
One of the written exercises I recall doing during that study has stuck with me and has greatly informed my excitement about the afterlife. Thinking through our five senses, we wrote down the most wonderful thing we could imagine about each. What is the more glorious sight you’ve ever seen? The best smell EVER? The most incredible taste? The most pleasant touch? And the greatest sound?
For me, the ocean holds beauty that is beyond description.
Look at the color of that water!
And in that water are the most diverse and gorgeous fish.
So what’s the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen?
I have news for you. It pales! It pales in comparison to what the New Heaven and New Earth will look like. We can’t even imagine how beautiful it will be!
What are your favorite smells? Fresh baked cookies? A favorite perfume? Laundry coming out of the dryer? A freshly bathed baby? Roses?
Here’s one of my favorites:
Plumeria. OH! I wish you could scratch and sniff this picture! It’s the flower used to make leis.
Think about it—the most glorious smell we’ve experienced here will not even touch what awaits us.
By far, my favorite sound is a baby’s belly laugh. Absolutely nothing compares. Here—enjoy!
When I was being treated for thyroid cancer, I had to be in isolation for a week because I had consumed a radioactive pill which, in turn, caused me to be radioactive and thus dangerous to others. I spent that week in the basement apartment of Kimberly and Tom, friends from church. I discovered that the introverted side of me kind of enjoyed the break from humanity, but after a few days, I realized what science has confirmed—we need human touch. On my last night in isolation, Kimberly and I had a conversation from a safe distance and after sharing our hearts and struggles, she walked over to me and gave me one of the greatest hugs I’ve ever received.
Pure touch. Delightful touch. That awaits us in Heaven.
Ok, we could spend hours talking about food, couldn’t we? Chocolate chip cookies, sweet tea, a juicy steak, Caesar salad, coffee…My mouth is watering just thinking about the good food that’s out there.
Oh and then there’s gelato. The real gelato in Italy. Dark chocolate, strawberry, and coconut. I’m not sure there’s a better combination. (Forgive the grainy picture.)
If you think there won’t be food in heaven, think again. Isaiah 25:6 says, “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.” This is a FEAST He’s preparing…with the best foods…beyond our wildest imaginations. And for those of us who cook all the time—the Lord is the one doing the preparing! We will get to sit back and enjoy the meal. Chew on that—the Lord of the universe is serving us! Can you even?
In the last few months, my family has said goodbye to several loved ones. My husband’s beloved uncle died after a stroke, a church friend died of cancer, and a 20 year old friend died in a motorcycle accident. Death never gets easier. Never. We grieve, though, not as ones without hope (I Thess. 4:13-18) because our hope is in God, the One who saved our loved ones, and the One who is preparing a place for us…And what a glorious place that will be!