We Are Thirsty for News of Heaven

In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11, ESV).

In writing my book Heaven, I collected and read 150 books on the subject, and I’ve read many more since—nearly every book about Heaven I have ever been able to locate. I underlined particularly significant portions of many of these, but only a small amount of the most interesting material made it into that or my other books on the subject, including In Light of Eternity, 50 Days of Heaven, TouchPoints: Heaven, Heaven for Kids, and We Shall See God. I’ve often regretted that great words of insight into Heaven and the New Earth have been left to sit unseen in my computer!

Over the years I’ve received thousands of letters and had hun­dreds of conversations with people about the Heaven books. I find many people thirsty for more insight.

Whether our hearts are heavy or light, whether recent days have brought us joy or sorrow or both, there is something soul stirring about contemplating what God has promised us and what Christ shed His blood and rose to guarantee us—eternal life with Him and His people in a land of never-ending wonder.

As W. H. Griffith Thomas wrote, “The consideration of heaven is no mere spiritual luxury, no mere intellectual dissipation, no imaginative revelry, but is really and definitely practical and suitable . . . and has a real bearing on our daily life.”

Scripture provides us with a substantial amount of information, direct and indirect, about the world to come, with enough detail to help us envision it, but not so much as to make us think we can completely wrap our minds around it. I believe that God expects us to use our imagination, even as we recognize its limitations and flaws. If God didn’t want us to imagine what Heaven will be like, he wouldn’t have told us as much about it as He has (or, conversely, He would have told us everything there was to know).

Rather than ignore our imaginations, I believe we should fuel them with Scripture, allowing them to step through the doors that Scripture opens.

Sometimes when we look at this world’s breathtaking beauty—standing in a gorgeous place where the trees and flowers and rivers and mountains are wondrous—we feel a twinge of disappointment. Why? Because we know we’re going to leave this behind. In consolation or self-rebuke, we might say, “This world is not my home.” If we were honest, however, we might add, “But part of me sure wishes it were.”

People sometimes tell me that they dread the thought of endless days after death. But when I press them, what they truly dread is endless monotony and boredom and repetition of the same dull things over and over. Their human heart longs for freshness and newness and adventure, yet also longs for the familiar, the sense of being home. Heaven will fulfill not one longing, but both.

I pray your heart will testify more and more that you are a citizen of another world, of a better country, with a glorious King. And I pray you will joyfully cling to His promises that He will return to restore and remake a ruined Earth. He will bring His throne and Heaven itself down to it to set up His eternal Kingdom, where He will reign as King of kings. In that world, joy will be the air we breathe.

May the following quotes help you inhale some of that joy here and now as you anticipate the world to come!

“Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight?”

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening


A man on his deathbed turned to his physician and mumbled, “What is Heaven like, Doctor?” How could the physician describe Heaven in such brief moments? As his mind searched for an answer for his friend, the doctor heard his dog scratching at the door. “Can you hear my dog scratching at your door?” inquired the physician. The sick man assured him that he could. “Well,” the doctor said, “Heaven must be like that. My dog does not know what is in this room. He only knows he wants to be with me. So it is with Heaven! Our Master is there. That is all we need to know!”

James Jeremiah, The Place Called Heaven


When you speak of Heaven . . . let your face light up, let it be irradiated with a heavenly gleam, let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of Hell—well, then your ordinary face will do.

Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations


Like Adam, we have all lost Paradise; and yet we carry Paradise around inside of us in the form of a longing for, almost a memory of, a blessedness that is no more, or the dream of blessedness that may someday be again.

Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat


God does not create a longing or a hope without having a fulfilling reality ready for them. But our longing is our pledge, and blessed are the homesick, for they shall come home.

Isak Dinesen, Babette’s Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny


If we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Photo by Sebastian Knoll on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries