Children often have strange ideas about what heaven is going to be like. For example 8 year old Eric thinks “It is a place where there is a lot of money lying around. You could just pick it up, play with it, and buy things. I think I am going to buy a basketball, and I am going to play basketball with my great-great grandmother.” Seven year old Scottie says, “Heaven is up in the sky, and you could look down at circuses for free if you want to, except you have to ask God for permission first.” Seven year old David says, “Heaven is kind of big and they sit around playing harps. I don’t know how to play a harp, but I suppose I should learn how to play that dumb thing pretty soon.” Finally, seven year old Tommy says, “I know what heaven is, but I don’t want to go there. I want to go to North Carolina instead.” When I hear the cultural descriptions of heaven, I sometimes think I’d rather go to North Carolina also. But I think the normal assumptions all miss the mark.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever be able to grasp the nature of the wonder and glory of heaven. As a matter of fact the mystery of heaven makes it even more attractive. I can take the biblical descriptions for face value and not have to wrestle with making more out of them that’s intended. I know it’s a wonderful place. When Paul quoted from Isaiah that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4, 65:17) I’m confident that the details of the experience are hidden alright but the glory of the place and all the joy that awaits us is clearly what has been revealed to us by God’s Spirit as Paul continues to say in 1 Corinthians 10. Also, remember that when Paul speaks of the one who was caught “up into the third heaven” he spoke of a person (probably himself) who had witnessed things that were unspeakable. He could not, and knew that he should not talk about those things.

Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler of the thirteenth century, when he lay dying, was urged by his attendants to recant—to withdraw the stories he had told about China and the lands of the Far East. But he said, “I have not told half what I saw.” Whatever awaits us is something beyond the scope of our experience on earth and therefore something we cannot understand until we arrive. Whatever is there it will be the most glorious that we can ever imagine. Our sorry descriptions will all seem so futile. The most important detail about heaven is it is where God and Jesus live. When I see Jesus, I will become like Him! Billy Graham said in his book World Aflame, “Heaven will be more modern and up-to-date than any of the present-day constructions of man. Heaven will be a place to challenge the creative genius of the unfettered mind of redeemed man. Heaven will be a place made supremely attractive by the presence of Christ.”