A couple of nights ago I found myself sitting at our kitchen table after dinner by myself. That almost never happens, but the wife and kids were all doing something else in a different part of the house, so I sat staring out the window for a moment. It was nice… I feel like I rarely get time to sit and have a good stare. In those few seconds I thanked God for our home, the yard he has blessed us with, and the rest of his creation that I could see out that kitchen window. This may sound strange, but it struck me as I was praying that I in no way felt like I was in a dream. It was obvious to me that my experience was absolutely real. I was really sitting in a chair, smelling the aroma of dinner still lingering in the air, looking at the sky and clouds, and listening to my baby daughter chirping from the back room.
About that time, my thoughts transitioned over to my future home; my true home in heaven. I realized that many times when I think of what heaven will be like, I think of it in the same way I recall my dreams after I’m awake: there’s hardly any detail, there seems to be an ever-present mist that follows me wherever I go, and many of the things I experience are a far cry from what my life is really like.
This is a problem because Scripture never gives us any reason to think of heaven in this way. To the contrary, John writes about seeing “a new earth”, which would imply that there is familiarity to what he sees or else “earth” would not be a part of its name (Revelation 21:1). The future heaven will not be some strange realm wherein everything is white, ethereal, and set to an eternally long, new age playlist. The absence of sin does not mean the absence of color, creation, variety, clarity and a firm recognition that what you are experiencing is real.
My thoughts at the dinner table that night concluded with an anticipation of heaven feeling just as, if not more, real than what I was experiencing in that moment. That heaven (and not the one that’s perpetuated by secular media) inspires worship and obedience to the real God who really created it as reality.