I wonder about Heaven. Not too often, because I'm not a weird-o, but enough to have decided the atmosphere I expect. It's not all too original, either. I definitely have wings. The clouds and pearly gates are a must. No cupids... that's awkward. No more dad bod either. I expect an all-you-can-eat buffet and no consequences. For some reason, there's a big, big house... with lots and lots of room... thanks for that one, Audio Adrenaline. It's funny to think that we try and piece together a divine existence from a profane one, isn't it?
I'm not sure where you stand on the outfitting of eternity's bliss, but I am sure of one thing none of us expect – complaining.
Can you imagine!? Swapping war stories with the saints of history and in walks Debbie Downer, interrupting the scene with a magnetic field of unsatisfaction, "You would think They could turn down the angelic choir in this joint, am I right?"
David writes a psalm about testimony. We've called it "Psalm 19" but I'm sure they had a better name for it. Here are some excerpts:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands"
"They have no speech, they use no words... Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
"The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold; they are sweeter than honey."
"Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sin; may they not rule over me."
I've fell into this habit of waking up and checking my phone for the latest headlines. Because, you know... I want to start my day depressed and unencouraged. I get out of bed, tell the kids to leave me alone 15 times and make a beeline for the Kuerig. Then I endulge in creating a mental To-Do list that rules the rest of my day. When are things going to slow down? Why am I so busy? Why does God leave me in this repetitive cycle of bills and work and deadlines? Sound familiar? (That's rhetorical.)
Meanwhile, David sees the glory of God in the rising and setting sun. (Give me a break...) He looks at the sky and He sees that God has made known His perfect heaven through the normalcy of our imperfect world. He sees the Truth of God as worth living for, rather than gold or fine dining (or Hazelnut coffee). He also sees himself as imperfect. He knows he won't make the right choices before he even has to make them. He even calls out that he would be ruled by his own selfish desire.
So, Heaven. This world speaks to it. It calls out to humanity that there is something more, something better that can forgive its downfalls. Not just forgiveness, this more can keep you from "willful sin" and even change your very being, your very profanity. David embraced this reality and wrote songs for the nation about it. Even in the midst of battle, David remembered that God was ultimately in control and that Heaven was found in the continuous surrender to God's perfect will.
Now, Jesus is Heaven in earth. He's the Word become flesh. He lived out Heaven His whole life and has called the Church to do the same. We are to inhabit the Word. We are to be the salt and light to the world. When people encounter the church they should be encounter Heaven!
When people encounter you, what do they find? Heaven? Debbie Downers? Do they encounter a testimony to God's glory? Have we submitted to the fact that we are not divine creatures and we will fail on our own?
We can't fake Heaven, we can only testify to its brilliance. That's why we sing. That's why we shout. That's why we share and relate with each other and pray. Our testimony, our witness is all that we have to "declare the glory of God" and "proclaim the work of His hands." I know we won't be perfect here and I don't think that's the point. What would happen if we offered grace and forgiveness to the other imperfect people? What would happen if, instead of complaining about how bad something is, we testify to the good it can become?
We don't have a say on what Heaven looks like and that's probably a good thing. But we do have a say on what Heaven looks like down here. So, what's your testimony?
FB: Nick Stohler
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