And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3
“Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all — except in so far as “Heaven” means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognise it most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.”
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity (Quebec: Samizdat, 2014) 74.
After the resurrection, we must consider the purpose of the ascension.
Jesus left to prepare our eternal home for us, not to abandon us. As stewards, we must not get too comfortable here, for our Master Jesus told us we are not long for this world. But, as Lewis rightly argues, we lack training about Heaven. What would it look like to be trained? Consider three thoughts.
Firstly, going in heaven is about something bigger than seeing family and friends. It’s about being with Jesus. Jesus said, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” Matthew 22:30. In heaven, we will be one with Christ, and that union will unite us and transcend all other relational ties.
Secondly, to be like the angels is to find purpose in service. What service? Jesus alludes to roles linked to how responsible we are as stewards. “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities’ Luke 19:17. It is unclear what this service will look like. Angels have roles, likely so will we.
Thirdly, most people forget the promises of eternity with Jesus: life with no more sorrow, pain, or suffering. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Revelation 21:4. Someday we will experience life without brokenness, as God intended it.
There’s more we could say about heaven. This is only a start. Perhaps we are living in a time bereft of hope because people are forgetting that our home is in heaven and not here? Sadly, most people are living for the wrong order of things. Offering this training may be our greatest act of generosity in the difficult times in which we find ourselves.