Heaven Is Not Vacation

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We’ve all grappled with eternity. Whether groaning because of sin or looking forward to paradise, all Christians have pondered heaven. And one of the most mind-shattering realities of heaven is that it goes on forever. It doesn’t end.

We struggle with this concept because we are finite. We’re bound to time and everything we do and create has a beginning and an end.

We haven’t experienced eternity, so we learn mostly by contrast. Witness this statement from the apostle Peter (emphasis mine).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5)

Any inheritance we receive in this life is perishable, defiled, and fading, and Peter tells us the glory won for us by Christ is just the opposite.

The Last Day of Vacation

I was thinking of eternity and heaven on a recent vacation.

I’m always excited at the beginning of vacation—there’s so much promise, hope, and adventure ahead. But I get wistful toward the end. I try to soak up all the sights, sounds, and tastes one last time before I return to normal life.

On that last day of vacation, I need to remind myself—I’m still on vacation. I’m still away from my job, the never-ending yard work, and the unfinished home repairs that taunt me daily. But I feel a bit of sadness and finality on that last day. I try to make a few more memories, take a few more pictures, enjoy that last visit to the ice cream shop.

Heaven is Different

Since our time in the new heavens and new earth won’t end, we won’t have this last-day-of-vacation feeling. We won’t need to squeeze in a last roller coaster ride or grab just a couple more shells. We won’t experience that creeping regret that we could have made the trip a little better.

And the center of our whole heavenly experience is gloriously different than any vacation spot in the world. It will be wonderful to have new bodies, to be free from sin, and to see beloved friends and family. But if you read the book of Revelation, you know heaven is about God.

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3–5)

The Lord will be our light, so night will never come. We won’t ever have to say goodbye and count down the days until next summer. We won’t wish we’d booked a different room or traveled a different week.

We will see his face, and we will worship him. How’s that for an every-day experience?!


Photo Credit: anonymous (2015), public domain

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