I Can Only Imagine
If you were alive in the 2000's, you have probably heard the song "I Can Only Imagine" once or twice. Even if you didn't attend church, it was hard to turn on the radio for a few years without the song playing. I remember the first time I heard it on a "secular" radio station (gasp! yes, I wasn't always tuned into Christian radio). If you somehow have not heard the song yet, please take a moment and listen. I'll wait right here.
While the song may be overplayed (and is known to make my husband's ears bleed), I think the overall concept is accurate. We can only imagine what heaven will be like because there is nothing on earth to compare it to.
What Heaven Isn't
The impression many people have of heaven today is far from the truth. I have never been to heaven or met anyone who has, but from what I've read in the bible, it is a fair assumption that heaven is not:
- the place where all your "dreams" come true (i.e. everyone does not drive Ferrari's and have servants wait on them hand and foot)
- a cloud we all float on while we look down on the people we left behind and commentate their life
- where all dogs go
There are many people today — yes, even Christians — who imagine heaven to be what they need to look forward to so they can make it through this life. Have ever daydreamed about an upcoming vacation or even just a place you'd like to visit and used that daydream as salve to help you get through your work day? I think some people do that with heaven. They dream up what they need to get through some of life's difficult times — like illness or death. I know I have said "he's in a better place" or "I know I'll see him again" about a loved one who passed away; while that may be true, there is no way for me to know that with any certainty. Am I saying it is wrong to daydream or think about heaven? Yes and no. Let me answer that question with a question: are you dreaming about the place or the One you'll meet there?
What Heaven Is
Again, let me say I've never been to heaven so I have no clue what it is like. Have I imagined it? Sure. I have imagined (much like MercyMe describes in the song) what it may be like to open my eyes and finally see God. To run up to Jesus and thank Him for quite literally everything. And, yes, maybe I've imagined what it would be like to see people who have died before me. Is this what heaven will be like? I'm not sure. But I am pretty confidant that heaven is:
- the place where God dwells and is worshiped continually by the angels
- the place Jesus has prepared for those who believe in Him to spend eternity with Him
- where I want to spend eternity
Heaven is a place I look forward to spending my eternity, but it is not the place that gives me hope — it is the One who I will spend eternity with.