We know that heaven will be a wonder for all who are admitted, a place of perfect peace and perfect satisfaction for all who enter its gates. But surely heaven will be a greater wonder still for those whose joys were fewest, whose sorrows were deepest, whose earth was most distant from heaven.
The man who lives in the Swiss Alps is probably not terribly impressed when he visits North America and strolls through the Adirondacks or the Smokies. The woman who has spent her life snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef is probably not too enthusiastic about snorkeling off the East Coast of Canada. The person who has grown up on the beaches of Maui is probably not going to break the bank to vacation on the beaches of Lake Superior. There is nothing wrong with the Adirondacks or the Smokies, nothing wrong with the East Coast of Canada or the beaches of the Great Lakes. It’s just that they are not nearly as good, not nearly as impressive, not nearly as awe-inspiring as the alternatives.
It does us good at times to ponder heaven, to ponder the future God has promised to those who love him. He has promised that we will be with him forever in a new heaven and a new earth—a re-creation of this world in which all sin and sorrow, all pain and danger will have been removed. Here we will live out the purpose for which God created us—to spread out over the earth and enjoy it with him and for him.
As we make the pilgrimage from here to there, as we endure this long journey, we expect that it will be difficult. We expect that we will experience the consequences that have come with mankind’s fall into sin. We expect that we will endure sickness, bereavement, persecution, chastisements, and so many other forms of suffering. This is all inevitable in a world like this one.
While we do not wish to suffer, we must be confident that God always has purposes in it.