No Eternal Church Service For Me, Please!

12 08 2013

When you think of heaven, do you imagine sitting on a cloud in a white nightgown, alone, strumming a harp…forever? For most of my Christian life, I did. In talking with other Christians, I discover that many have this opinion as well.

One of the benefits of my mother’s passing was that I began to seriously look into what’s on the other side of the grave.

My beliefs were fuzzy at best. In fact, at one point I told God that I was missing the “worship gene” – the one necessary for an eternity contentedly spent flat on my face or singing on my own little cloud all by myself. I love to sing and do so throughout most of every day…but there is a limit.

“I’m sorry that I feel this way, Lord, but that sounds downright boring,” I exclaimed as waves of despair washed over me.

I appreciate God’s encouragement to be honest with Him. When I am,  He takes my confusion and sheds light on my faulty beliefs.

In this case, He used writers like C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, and Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, TN, to give me a new perspective on heaven. I’m deeply grateful to God and to these men. Each one peeled back the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next in a different way and showed me an eternity that I now long for.

For instance, my view of how much time I have in which to attain goals is changed.

You see, I have many more dreams than I could possibly accomplish in one lifetime. “God put eternity in our hearts,” says Solomon. We sense that there is more than this world, that we were destined to have lasting satisfaction and joy.

Since that season of my life, I realize that many of the things I used to hope to accomplish may have to wait until real life begins (when “mortality is swallowed up by life,” 2 Corinthians 5:4 NKJV).

My view of goals was that I had only so many years in which to achieve them. My wasted, foolish youth was a sad fact that I would have to live with.

I imagined myself as I stood before God and said, “But Lord, I never got to (write beautiful music, learn to paint, become an accomplished vocalist, etc.),” to which He would reply, “Wow! Sucks to be you. Too bad you didn’t spend time more wisely. Oh well, here’s your harp and nightgown. Pick a cloud and have a nice forever.”

I no longer believe this.

Let’s get some things straight:

Hell is the place of boredom, isolation and meaninglessness. Our belief that heaven is a perpetual church service is a very clever lie fomented by our enemy. He’s done a good job of making heaven appear even less attractive than standing in a “Returns” line in a department store the day after Christmas!

Satan is, after all, a liar.

Having prayerfully considered what heaven is like, and asked questions of God, I now understand that those unfulfilled dreams don’t die with us. They go with us and will come to pass at some point in the future. God planted those longings within us because He intends to fulfill them. I’m so glad!

The psalmist said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NKJV. I used to think this meant that it was my job to dream it up, and God’s obligation to fulfill my wishes.

Read it again, though. The desires of our heart come from God. He planted the desire there because He intends to make it happen!

This altered how I choose to spend my time these days. For instance, I’d love to paint. Right now I don’t want to invest either time or money in order to actually pursue this hobby. There are more important things for me to do…like interact with people. I can’t do both at the same time. The main reason I haven’t been taken home (I believe) is because there are still lost people that I am supposed to reach.

However, to be able to paint is a desire of mine…a longing. I love to create beautiful things; it feels so good! I believe this desire was given to me by my Creator because it will one day be fulfilled.

Some days I wonder whom God will assign as my teacher. Perhaps it will be Michelangelo or Davinci!

Perhaps I’ll have Bach as my piano/music composition tutor.

Mmm. The conversations I’ll have with Bible characters – King David, Sarah, Paul, John, Dorcas and Lazarus! Perhaps their stories will be assigned to me to write for heaven’s library.

There will be opportunities to explore the universe…to see sights heretofore hidden from view. These are all things I anticipate.

What will you be doing a million years from today?

You’ll certainly be doing something…

…and it won’t involve attending one never-ending church service in your nightgown and with a harp!

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19 responses

15 08 2013
tric

As you know you and I differ on God. However I thought you would enjoy this. Many years ago a lovely nun was teaching us religion. She was up against it big time. Anyway she was speaking of the love of God and when we die having eternal life with him. One of the girls piped up saying “no thanks, how very boring”. Then the nun became so animated and said, “Oh no quite the opposite”. She asked the girl had she a boyfriend and was told yes. She asked her did she love him, and she said yes. “Well she said, you know when you met him first and you could think of nothing else and every moment with him was special and time flew by and he was all you wanted to be with? Well, that is what heaven is like”.
I cannot say I believe she is right but she definitely made heaven a place we all became a lot less bored by!

15 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for sharing your story, Tric. I’m glad someone out there isn’t going on about clouds and harps and one never-ending church service.

Jesus said we’d be like Him. Well, after He was resurrected, the guys were all huddled in a locked room. Suddenly – POOF – there was Jesus. When He finished what He had to say – POOF – He was gone. Don’t you know I’m gonna have fun with THAT one for the first hundred years. I hope no one punches me when I startle them!! 😉

Have a fantastic day ❤
\o/

13 08 2013
dianarasmussen

Love this one Tami, I think I’ll go with the harmonica for my harp, just to have fun!

13 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

13 08 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

Great post. Hey Tami, have you though of taking a painting class? You can paint and be around others at the same time! Another common interest, I love to do artistic things!
After my son, Jonathan’s death, the Lord has shown me that Heaven is so flooded with an abundance of joy, love, and peace so unknown to us, it would knock our socks if we were wearing any!
As you said, the pure longings of our hearts are God given and He will see to it they are fulfilled. It will be interesting to see just what jobs we get! Then there’s always the new Jerusalem. We will be plenty busy!
I don’t believe Heaven is boring at all! Just look at the fallen creation and all it’s beauty and curiosity and imagination, and it’s God’s footstool! Imagine Heaven, God’s home and throne! 1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I cannot wait 😉

13 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Me neither! 🙂

\o/

12 08 2013
Peg

Well, Tami . . . Thanks for making my day so “heavenly!” 🙂 I’m glad that we serve a God we KNOW won’t allow us to be bored! I loved your thoughts on our dreams being fulfilled in heaven. What a pressure-reliever that is! I always have something I want to “someday” learn how to do. “Some” day, if God wants me to I will! A great post!

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

I love to do intricate beadwork…the sort that takes hours. A few years ago I sold all of my beads when I realized that I could do that “later” – when there will be no one left to lead to Jesus! If I don’t get to do this particular hobby in the next fifteen trillion years, no doubt the reason will be that I’m doing something way wowie-zowier! 😉

\o/

12 08 2013
Kari Anne Dorstad

Thank God for eternity in my heart. It moves and motivates me to get up in the morning.. I love to remind others about this endless journey Jesus has for us..

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

You go, girl! 🙂

\o/

12 08 2013
platinumdonmccoy

Powerful piece. I felt tears of blissful joy swelling up my eyes when I perceived the peace that was emanating from each line of your write up. More grace to you.
I also had cartoonlike imaginations of heaven when I was younger: Floating clouds, Bored angels playing harps, etc. Now the book of Revelations is the source of my imaginations of what heaven would be like and this only causes me to want to run the Christian race in anticipation of the crown ahead…

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Race you to the finish line! 🙂

\o/

12 08 2013
ithabise

Love it! Glad to find someone who daydreams about the hereafter. I think it will be so exciting. I created a page (Imagine!) to get others’ thoughts on this. And have you read Alcorn’s “Heaven”? I really want that book. Again, thanks for a great read.

Oh yeah, I was cracking up at God saying, “Wow! Sucks to be you. Too bad you didn’t spend time more wisely. Oh well, here’s your harp and nightgown. Pick a cloud and have a nice forever.”

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Fortunately, the only time God talks to me like that is in my imagination! 😉

Have a blessed day.
\o/
Praising Jesus for giving us imaginations to play in!

12 08 2013
vonhonnauldt

Good thoughts. My own view, for which I will not be dogmatic because I have been known to be wrong 🙂 , is that heaven will be something like this earth had Adam and Eve never sinned. Revelation 22 refers to “new heavens and a NEW EARTH (emphasis added). “Certainly, it won’t be spent standing, sitting or lying on clouds.

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s mine, too. After all, God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth. I’ll bet we won’t be confined to just this planet, though! I can’t wait!

\o/

12 08 2013
kingintraining

Haha Tami, I’m currently editing a similar post of mine. The reason I laugh is because I also had thoughts of floating on clouds all day long. Thank God He is exciting and creative! I loved Randy’s book!

12 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s great! More than eye has seen or ear heard or has entered into the heart of man…that says to me, “use your wildest imagination. You won’t even come close…but you’ll have a good time thinking about what’s to come!”

\o/

13 08 2013
kingintraining

hehe yes! Amen!

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