A Shadow of Heaven

One of the great blessings of being a pastor is that I am reminded daily of what really matters in life. Today I sat down with a precious family to plan the memorial service of their loved one. Our conversation jumped from here to there, earth to heaven, the temporary to the eternal, the already and the not yet.

I believe that every day we’re given glimpses of heaven. Whether we catch them or not is entirely up to us. It seems even the worst among us catch glimpses of the eternal: something more, something beautiful, something sacred. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hears the rumblings of something eternal among us. Milton’s question echoes across time, “What if earth be but a shadow of heaven?”4 Why does every culture in the world worship Someone or at least something? Philip Yancey notes in his book, Rumors, “Alone of all the beasts, the human animal has the power and freedom to center life in one impulse. We have not, it seems, the power to abstain from worship.”5

What is that within us? Is it simply the result of some evolutionary process that has created within us this God-consciousness, this desire to exalt Someone who is beyond us? Or could it be that God Himself really has “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)? Could it be we really do have a kind of “homing device” that calls us onward to seek, to search, to desire? In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”6 The fact that we have such longings doesn’t prove that God is the One prompting us or that eternity awaits, but I believe our longing for Heaven whispers to us in our joy and it seems to scream at us in our despair that something else is coming. And Someone else is writing this already-but-not-yet narrative.

Surely we all long for more. When Jesus prayed for the Father to set all things right by bringing His kingdom to earth (Matthew 6:10), He was calling for a present and future reality. “Thy kingdom come” should be the cry of every believer’s heart. As we join God in His restorative agenda we become the answer to the prayers of our Lord. The present life is but a shadow of heaven. You and I are not yet free from sin, but we do have the capacity within us (by the power of His Spirit) to reach our fullest redemptive potential. Live today with the end in sight. He is making everything new (Revelation 21:5).

1 Comment

Kim Golden

about 11 years ago

Jeff, as usual this is the way that God works with me. He gave me a vision several years ago and told me your name. I didn't even know if you existed...but apparently you do. All that I know is that I am supposed to contact you.

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