"I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.'" — Revelation 21:3
When I was child, heaven didn’t sound like much fun. In church we sang about myriads of saints by the sea of crystal giving eternal praise to God (Revelation 4-5). I didn’t dare declare my dread of something like a never-ending junior choir practice. One of the best parts of Sunday for me was to change out of the dress I had to wear and go outside to play.
I think about heaven differently now. The Bible teaches that heaven will come to earth. Revelation 21 pictures the New Jerusalem descending and proclaims the glorious truth that God will dwell forever here with us. There will be no more tears, crying, or pain. In that way, thank God, things will be very different for God’s people.
But I believe there will also be some eternal continuity with our present world. The beauty of the earth and all that is good and right and lovely about our earthly lives will remain. So the feel of damp grass underfoot as your poised bat waits to clobber a barreling baseball will still delight. The smell of lilacs will still intoxicate. The crimson cardinal will still thrill. The embrace of a loved one will still bring joy. All of this is true because God created this world in powerful love, and in that same powerful love God will renew it. Christ’s death and resurrection demonstrate God’s deep desire and aim to restore us and creation to fullness.
That’s our future and our hope! That’s our reason for gratitude—life forever with God!