As I mentioned the other day, I recently got the book, Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. I’m only 1.5 chapters in, but it has been a great 1.5 chapters. I suspect I will be sharing little bits along the way w/you. Just one of those quotable books. In the first part he’s making a case for not only why we should think of and look forward to Heaven, but where he gets his views on what Heaven will be like.
I know I for one have in the past shied away from the concept of Heaven because 1) I didn’t understand it & 2) to be perfectly honest, I was not all that awe-struck by the concept, as I assumed the view of bodiless ethereal spirits floating around singing all the time. In fact, I distinctly remember one of my first pastors exhorting the congregation to really engage in worship saying, “You better get used to this, because it’s all we’ll be doing in Heaven!”. & yeah…it sounded a mite boring.
Somewhere along the way, I came to realize Heaven would be a real place with real bodies &…well…stuff. Mostly likely from Ryan who likes to contemplate in length the feast scenario in Heaven. Basically, I didn’t know much, but I knew we’d eat in Heaven. And since I didn’t understand much about it, I didn’t think much about it, nor did I think it was important to do so. I’ve even had this particular book on my “to read” list for a few years, knowing friends who were so impacted by the book. But in all honesty I didn’t feel all that compelled to read it. I didn’t get why thinking about Heaven would do me any good on Earth.
Anyhow, the author, targeting just this concept quotes CS Lewis.
Perhaps you’re afraid of becoming “so heavenly minded you’re of no earthly good.” Relax — you have nothing to worry about! On the contrary, many of us are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly or earthly good. C.S. Lewis observed, “if you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves….the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
To this end….i had an interesting observation recently. It happened before I even ordered the book…in fact, it’s what finally pushed me to order it.
Asher’s never been too jazzed at the idea of dying & leaving this earth to be with Jesus (it comes up more often than you’d think, not due to me bringing it up). When the subject comes up, he vacilates between fear & apathy. Says things like, “i don’t want to go to Heaven”. Thus far my only response has been to causually explain that Heaven is so much better than earth and that he will love it, and change the subject. With no detail due to my lack of understanding/confidence in theology of Heaven. Anyhow, the other day in the car it somehow came up again and he said his “I don’t want to go” statement. I’m not sure how I got there, or thought to say it (thank-you Holy Spirit), but I mentioned how in Heaven he won’t be allergic to garlic anymore. This gave him pause. “We get to eat in Heaven?”. This made me realize he had no idea what Heaven was! I suppose I assumed he just innately knew (duh). We talked awhile about eating in Heaven (especially garlic, since he’s allergic now) and animals and stuff like that. Not only was he excited about that but the past week since, he’s exhibited a new zeal about “loving Jesus” and has literally been preaching to his 2 year old sister, praying for me spontaneously, singing amazingly accurate made-up songs about God & Asher’s love for him….and refers to Heaven a pretty good bit. Given that he’s very focused on details & cause/effect i have no doubt that having an eternal perspective, while not a “magic bullet” or the end of his journey, has been an important step in his journey. I look forward to digging in to “Heaven for kids” as a family as the kids get older (it’s written more for “big kids”).