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Friday January 27, 2017

There I sat on the plush red pews of my small church, flipping through a hymnal between covert glances at my watch. Of course, I wanted to go to Heaven but not right then. It sounded like a nice place to visit—if you like church—but to me, it sounded boring. An eternal routine seemed like a big step back from all of the fun I was having. I consoled myself with the thought, "Maybe it's one of those 'you'll understand when you're older' things."

Now I'm older; now I understand. Heaven wasn't dull, my imagination wasn't sharp.

I knew the joys of snow days and summer nights, but I didn't yet know the God who had made them. My misconception wasn't just about Heaven, my misunderstanding was about its Architect. It seemed to me He knew only two words: no and don't. It never crossed my mind that fun was His invention and His no's were meant to leave my hands free for better yes's. Now I understand what my 11-year-old self couldn't: God isn't boring, and therefore, Heaven isn't either.

Scripture teaches that our wildest imaginations can't compare to what's waiting for us. Still, as we wait, we wonder what Heaven looks like. God doesn't give us every detail to spoil the surprise, but He has given us enough information to piece together a snapshot of a place He's prepared that's out of this world.

At the end of the New Testament, God pulled back the curtains and allowed the Apostle John to peek at the prize. The beauty was so overwhelming that he could never fully describe all that he saw.

In the closing chapters of the Revelation, John gave us a sketch of the city of God, the New Jerusalem. He said the foundations of the city's walls are adorned with rare jewels, blood red jaspers and royal blue sapphires. Homes are built of purified gold clear as glass. The heavenly highway is paved with gold and pothole-free. I like to think John must have laughed when he realized that gold is as common in God's country as gravel is in ours. 

In Heaven, everyone is on city water, yet no one has to pay. The River of Life flows through the city, free of contamination. Unsightly power plants that litter the sky with smoke and ash have no place there. God will dwell with His people, and He will be their sun. The glory of God will saturate His whole creation with warmth and illumination. Imagine no more sun yet no more night for the Lamb will be the lamp and light. Oh, how the jewels will sparkle and the gold will shine, basking in the radiance of Love divine!

The emerald city will leave us wondering why Dorothy ever wanted to go home. Our hearts will discover paradise wasn't lost, it was just temporarily out of reach. Every sensation will be sweeter, every taste richer, and every emotion healed.  Life on earth will seem like a pastel prison when we behold the sharp, bright, contrasting color of home—to think that's all just within the city limits.

In Heaven, every day is Christmas with every discovery a new gift from our Father, to be unwrapped and enjoyed. Understanding this changed the way I think about Heaven. Once, it was a boring nightmare; now it's the land of my dreams.

I can't help but smile when I think of so many I dearly love who went to sleep here and woke up in a land where nightmares are no more. Like the arms of one running to embrace their love who has been away at war, someday soon pearly gates will swing open widely to welcome us in. I'm looking forward to life in the land where dreams really do come true.

—Ben Webb, Kids Path Bereavement Coordinator

Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care offers free grief support to the community at large. For more information, contact us today at 336-789-2922 (toll-free 1-888-789-2922).

Tags: Grief Support