I recently I had someone serve me moose for lunch. I had heard it described as ‘really strong’ beef. ‘Strong’ isn’t attractive to me. Food-wise, I would tend to stick to what I know when I eat out (read too many monkey-eyeball-for-dinner stories from missionaries). But I was a guest, so I ate the moose.
What surprised me is how much I loved it. It didn’t taste like ‘strong’ beef, it tasted like ‘flavourful’ beef to me. And I love the flavour of beef.
My point? When you’ve never tried something before, you have to rely on analogy to describe it. And analogy only ever comes ‘close’, because we’re trying to describe something the person we’re describing it to hasn’t experienced.
Every account of heaven is like that. You use analogy to describe it.
What do you think of heaven as? You might think of heaven as a worship service that never ends, (which we could get somewhat boring.) Or as an endless golf game, or spa in the sky, or vacation that lasts forever (which could get a little self-indulgent). Or a family reunion (what would you talk about forever anyway?). When it comes to heaven, a lot of us practice an ‘insert your analogy’ here approach.
John, one of Jesus’ disciples, actually got a glimpse of it. He saw what awaits you and me. And he used analogy to describe what he saw. Read through John’s account. Go ahead. Read it.
And then compare your version of heaven to John’s.
My guess is you’ll find his more amazing. More powerful. More compelling. More interesting.
And more accurate. He saw it after all. And he was astounded.
Now that I’ve tasted moose, I’ll eat it any time, by the way.
And once John tasted heaven, he longed not only to experience it again, but for you to experience and prepare for it as well. It was that amazing.
Belong – Because you can belong before you believe.
Does John’s account of heaven intrigue you? How is it different, and maybe even more compelling, than the popular account?
Believe – Because those who belong often start to believe.
What part of John’s vision of heaven makes you want to deepen your belief?
Become – Because those who believe can become someone new.
How does John’s vision encourage you? What part of it moves you most deeply? How might that impact how you live?
Dear God, thank you for accurate descriptions of the afterlife, even if the descriptions rely on analogy. Help us to see more clearly what you’ve prepared for those who have trusted you with their lives. Through Christ we pray, amen.
– by Carey Nieuwhof