“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward
to a new heaven and a new earth,
where righteousness dwells.”
2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)
Twenty or so years ago I ministered into the life of a European man who was dying in hospital. He loved the Lord and had been an exemplary Christian man. He was only in his early fifties and it seemed so difficult to imagine his wife and teenage children being without him.
During his final weeks I visited him daily. Each time he saw me coming into the room he greeted me with the words, “Gordon, tell me about heaven.” Obviously I came prepared to tell him another detail about the wonders and joys of being in the Lord’s eternal presence.
Some of the things I shared with my friend include the following that I wish to share with you—also for your encouragement. Or you may wish to share this with someone else who is really close to entering the wonders of what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Perhaps the most familiar passage of Scripture used at funerals is the opening verses of John 14. There Jesus uses the metaphor of a home to describe heaven. Our Lord said,
“In my Father’s home are many dwelling places.”
So the things we love about our home such as the presence of loved ones, food, comfortable places to rest and relax and so on will all be part of the place we shall occupy forever.
Another beautiful and precious picture of heaven is found in Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV) where it reads,
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.’”
To think of God being such a loving parent as to tenderly wipe away our final tears is amazingly beautiful. These two verses then, speak of God being forever among us. Those times in this life when we have thought the Lord distant will never happen in heaven. We will look on Jesus, hear His gracious words, and listen to His teaching forever.
Is this what you look forward to in eternity? Are you following the Good Shepherd? Are you part of His flock? Do you have confidence that when you close your eyes in death you will open them in the glories of heaven? If not, why not? Read John 3 today and find out how to be confident in the face of anything this life can bring to your doorstep.