Not to belabor children’s books, but I read the account of Heaven in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones to my daughter recently.
“I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky glittering, glowing-coming down! From Heaven… and from the sky… Heaven is coming down to earth! God’s city is beautiful. Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut. Where is the sun? Where is the moon? They aren’t needed anymore. GOD IS ALL THE LIGHT PEOPLE NEED. No more darkness! No more night! And the King says, ‘Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes, they’re gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see – I have wiped away every tear from every eye!’And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, “Look! I am making everything new!” (pp. 346-7)
As I read, the happiness came. I was happy to read this particular book myself, hearing the familiar words and message in a fresh way. It made me happy to read such beautiful, descriptive language about Heaven to my daughter. I can tell her there is a happily ever after for the children of God. In simple but rich words, I can explain that we anticipate a time when everything will be made new.
This description of Heaven is our joyful hope. The good intentioned defenses of doctrine, the glittering personalities in churches and beyond, the out of control Twitter feeds, the strivings, the evening news, the lost friendships, the frustrating weeks, the job promotion, the platform building, the intellectual prowess, the creative achievements, the human accomplishment on Earth is not where our final hope is rooted. These are the things in which we dabble because God is honored through our participation in the culture of our present world. But no present city can bring the joy that this city will hold.
The hope that is in us is our future hope. The reason for our hope is that we are children of God by His love and through the work of the cross. We are at peace with God through the blood of Christ- and one day faith will be sight. The culminating hope of Heaven is so beautifully described in these words, paraphrased for a child to understand and for an adult to treasure. The love of God anchors us and this future hope propels us.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11