The God who lives in eternity – Journey two

Are you looking forward to being in heaven after this life?

I used to be scared of life after this life because I thought that it only involved judgement. Picture the scene. God’s eyes burning into my conscience while all my friends stand around me, staring. A throbbing dirge is being slowly played by an orchestra of angels with frowns, conducted by an angel who keeps looking at me as if I shouldn’t be there. A big bass drum is being beaten monotonously. Christians are marched in, heads bowed. I’m third in the queue, following the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope. Silence is announced and the books are opened – and it’s my turn.

Oh yes, I knew I was in the Book of Life – that’s the book that John mentions in the book of Revelation that’s recorded all the names of believers. I knew that I’d been saved. But I’d been told that in that book had been written all my words, deeds and thoughts, and I didn’t want my worst moments shouted so that all could hear about them. It wasn’t eternity that troubled me – it was the first few minutes…

Well, I’ve since learned that such a notion isn’t true. Our present actions do have consequences, some of which may reach beyond this life. But, they’re not going to result in excruciating embarrassment.

So what is life going to be like after we die? The Bible doesn’t reveal much but what it says is described in superlatives – there’ll be no tears or disappointment, no pain or illness or death, but there’ll be indescribable joy and peace, contentment and friendship – and the list goes on.

And here’s the point, that’s what we’ve been created for. Life after this life – let’s call it eternity – is not the full-time whistle – it’s when the fulfilment actually begins. It’s not the end of time; it’s the start of endless time. It’s not the final scene or merely the moment of applause.

Eternity is the start of the performance of our lives. Believers are ushered through this life for the purpose of eternity, destined for eternity. Eternity is not the reward for life on earth; it’s not the bonus – it’s the reason for our creation. Life on earth is not the reason for our existence; it’s but the entrance porch, the waiting room, the gateway to our destiny – eternity.

Life doesn’t end when eternity begins; to a very significant degree, it begins. Death is the magic carpet to release us into the glory of eternity. Eternity is the time when we’ll do best that for which we were created…the endless exploration of God. Now, we’re like yachts in the harbour, ready to sail on the ocean of God’s greatness, but becalmed because of our intellectual weakness and sinful tendencies.

In eternity, we’ll be transformed and endlessly discover the infinite clarity and sparkling treasures of God’s glory. We’ll have eternity to be intrigued with God.

It’ll be a time to explore the innumerable mysteries of God –

how God hears a leaf floating to the ground in the depths of the deepest forest – and also our heartbeat; how God sees the future – and the heartbreak of an orphan; how God feels the weight of the pain of his world – and our tears; how God can be touched by our sorrows but not be contaminated by our sin.

Eternity is what we’ve been created for…but the exploration of the God who inhabits eternity is to be commenced in this life – and continued into the next.

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