Three weeks ago, the young adults began discussions on heaven. While we’re unable to know many of the details that we have questions about, there is still a large amount of information that God provides us to wet our appetite and keep us searching for more about this mysterious destination.
Early in the unit, we processed what it will be like to be in the presence of our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). We leaned into Genesis 3:8 where the text reads, “Now they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Some of us have recognized that Adam and Eve, prior to the curse, walked with the Creator of the universe. Not only that, but the teaching of continuity in the Scriptures suggests that many details of the Garden, pre-fall, will carry over into the new Jerusalem, the great City that will be our place of residence for all of eternity, once the curse of sin is lifted once and for all. What does that mean?
You, Christian, should not imagine these things as some abstract and far-off thought, but instead, ingest the fact that you will be standing in the presence of the Lord God and looking into the eyes of your Savior. You will hear His voice. You will feel His embrace. This then led to questions of what we will talk with Him about. My mind immediately rushes to the song I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me (link at the bottom of the page), but even more specifically it has me focused on thanksgiving.
When I think about walking with God one day, I can’t help but appreciate His creativity. He was incredibly creative when He brought about my wife whom I love. Her smile, laugh, and humor (the best you can come by in her own estimation) have become a much needed breath of fresh air when I am otherwise distracted by my troubles. I will be walking with the God of humor.
He was also incredibly creative when He invented my son’s wonder at the world around him. Sometimes, the smallest things can catch his attention and he can’t contain himself. I love this about him and I will thank God face-to-face one day for the enjoyment that this detail brings me.
Then there’s my daughter. God was incredibly creative when He gave her this little voice that melts my heart every time I hear it, even when she’s forcing me out on my way to work and repeating “bye!” time and time again while shutting the door in my face. I know that I will thank Him for these memories.
Not only will I thank Him for every single thing in this world that brings me joy that He created in His brilliance, but I will thank Him profusely for the capability to enjoy them. Yes, I will thank Him for humor, for His beautiful creation, for fellowship with community, for opportunities to learn more about His majesty, for opportunities to share His majesty with the marginalized that He cares so deeply for, and for the enjoyment of human culture that displays even more His character of creativity.
I will also thank Him for the ability to appreciate these things – for the ability to laugh and enjoy humor, for a capacity to appreciate what’s beautiful in the world, for an indwelling desire to enjoy community, for the feeling of growing closer to Him as my mind ingests more about the world He created, for the ability of our hearts to connect with those in need because we have also been provided for by our God, and for the recognition that human culture is a gift from Him to us. How much more beautiful will all these things appear in the new heaven and new earth?
Take some time to thank God for the things in your life that He has gifted to you. Take some time to thank Him also for your ability to appreciate those things in your life. Finally, be silent for a span of time and recognize that the thanksgiving that we give Him in our prayers on this earth are only a shadow of the experience we will have in thanking Him as we walk with Him in heaven one day (1 Corinthians 13:12). Perhaps thankfulness will be the greatest emotion our hearts feel while we walk with our God in heaven.
Psalm 100:1-5 – “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff