Did you know that our hope is invested in the inheritance of Heaven?
“…and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…”
1 Peter 1:4
It has become rather popular to talk of Heaven as ‘another dimension’. By this, we mean that Heaven is a constant reality that exists alongside the reality of the world as we see it and experience it. This is, of course, true. Heaven breaks into the world through miracles, through the present power of the Holy Spirit, through the faithful living of God’s People. Heaven’s rule and reign should be seen in the priorities and commitments of the People of God. Heaven is the rule and the reign of Almighty God, the principles of His Kingdom which are evidenced in the earthly ministry and heavenly reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whilst this is true, and fills us with great hope, Heaven is more than this.
Where is the Lord Jesus now? He still has a body. He is present somewhere, making intercession for His people, standing before His Father. He has promised that He will return from where He is so that we can be with Him. Indeed, one day Heaven will come to earth and the whole of the world will be transformed. There will be no more suffering, no more tears, no more sin and no more death. This is a powerful source of hope for Christians. We do not sorrow as others!
This powerful promise of Heavenly hope will not wear out or rot because it is imperishable. It will not become tainted or infected because it is undefiled. It will not loose its allure and attractiveness because it is unfading. The passing of time should not eradicate the power of Heavenly hope. One day God will make all things new! We live, with hope, for that day. That is not to suggest that our lives here and now do not matter. Of course they do. We must be careful, however, not to become so earthly minded that are of no heavenly use. Heaven’s hope draws us toward God, and it draws us toward a broken and fragile world. Heaven’s hope causes us to see Christ in the world around us, to encounter Him in the lives of those we meet every day. Heaven’s hope also lifts our eyes, and our imaginations. It re-envisions us by reminding us that with every day that passes, we take another step toward the fulfilment of God’s purposes and plans. We come a day closer the glorious moment of seeing Christ face-to-face.
We can, I think, become bogged down in the struggles and challenges of our lives. We do not need to pretend that they are not there to be re-energised by the comfort and hope of Heaven. Instead, in the midst of our mess, when worry weighs us down and sorrow feels like it is suffocating us, we can lift our heads, we can awaken our souls and remind ourselves that this is not what it will always be like. Heaven is real and its hope has the power to give us grace, courage and determination today.
As we approach Christmas Morning, may your ears and eyes be attentive to symbols and sounds of hope all around you. The One who has come will come again, and with Him will come a reign and a rule that will never be broken or diminished.
We know how this story ends…
(C) Malcolm J. Duncan (Advent 2019. Adapted from a reflection for Advent 2017)