Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven. We think that we what want is sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a large-screen television, a new car, a cabin in the woods, a condo in Hawaii. What we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, Heaven. Nothing less can satisfy us. C. S. Lewis said, “The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God.”
Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2004), 166.
Service is a reward, not a punishment. This idea is foreign to people who dislike their work and only put up with it until retirement. We think that faithful work should be rewarded by a vacation for the rest of our lives. But God offers us something very different: more work, more responsibilities, increased opportunities, along with greater abilities, resources, wisdom, and empowerment. We will have sharp minds, strong bodies, clear purpose, and unabated joy. The more we serve Christ now, the greater our capacity will be to serve Him in Heaven.
Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2004), 234.
The idea of entering into the Master’s joy is a telling picture of Heaven. It’s not simply that being with the Master produces joy in us, though certainly it will. Rather, it’s that our Master himself is joyful. He takes joy in himself, in his children, and in his creation. His joy is contagious. Once we’re liberated from the sin that blocks us from God’s joy and our own, we’ll enter into his joy. Joy will be the very air we breathe. The Lord is inexhaustible — therefore his joy is inexhaustible.
Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2004), 223.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63.1). We may imagine we want a thousand different things, but God is the one we really long for. His presence brings satisfaction; his absence brings thirst and longing. Our longing for heaven is a long for God — a longing that involves not only our inner beings, but our bodies as well. Being with God is the heart and soul of Heaven. Every other heavenly pleasure will derive from and be secondary to his presence. God’s greatest gift to us is, and always will be, himself.
Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2004), 171.
How can you expect to dwell with God forever, if you so neglect and forsake Him here?
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
When we shall come home, and enter into the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, then we shall look back to pains and sufferings and then we will see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory. Our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome-home to heaven.
Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
Most men hope to go to heaven when they die, but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth…. No man can possibly be in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the water, when an owl is happy in a blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy in the dry land — then, and not till then will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.
J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Carlisle, PA: Evangelical Press, 2011), 22-23.
Heaven will pay for any loss we may suffer to gain it; but nothing can pay for the loss of heaven.
Richard Baxter (1615-1691)