By Carey Kinsolving, Crosswalk.com
"I think heaven is at least one million times better than the best cruise in the world!" says Zachary, 9.
Maybe this is why cruise ships are so popular. Deep in our hearts, we know there’s a perfect place. Everyone has a sense of beauty and a longing for a return to paradise. The problem with going on a perfect Caribbean cruise is that we take our imperfections with us. When we journey to heaven, however, we’ll be glad our baggage didn’t make the transfer.
"There will be no sin in heaven. You can ask Jesus all you want to, and he won’t get annoyed," says Abby, 8.
Actually, no one will be annoyed in heaven. That’s part of the baggage we’ll leave behind.
"I think heaven will be peaceful," says Mackenzie, 8. "We will never see darkness again. Also, we will never fight, and everybody will be happy. Nobody will be weak or tired, not even the grandparents. We will see Jesus!"
Yes, heaven will be peaceful because the Prince of Peace will be reigning and ruling over his rightful domain and in the hearts of his people. True peace is a condition of the heart. People who don’t make peace with God will always be restless.
Mackenzie also mentioned that darkness will take a permanent holiday. Why? Jesus will be the light of the New Jerusalem. The sun will never set on his glory. The light of the Son will replace the light of the sun (Revelation 21:23).
"Heaven is nothing like Earth," says Claire, 10. "There are no scary dreams, no thunderstorms and no bullies. I imagine streets of gold, a beautiful landscape, high mountains and fresh green valleys."
God’s grace is so overpowering that it can transform bullies. No matter how much weight people throw around, it’s all nickel and dime stuff compared to a God who spoke 100 billion galaxies into existence. Even the toughest bullies who get a glimpse of this mind-numbing power can humble themselves before God and start treating people with respect.
John D. Rockefeller became one of the most powerful men in American history by creating an oil monopoly. "Bully" is one of the milder terms his competitors used to describe his business tactics. When he died, someone asked his accountant how much he left behind. "All of it," he said.
All accumulated wealth and power on Earth are left behind in a moment at death. When Jesus said the first will be last, and the last will be first in his kingdom, he wasn’t kidding. Part of heaven’s glory will be the prominence of Christians who lived their lives in light of heaven’s rewards.
The Scripture says Moses, who was raised as an Egyptian prince, chose rather "to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" because he valued the treasures in heaven more than the treasures in Egypt (Hebrews 11:25-26).
Everyone gets to heaven the same way: faith alone in Christ alone. Eternal life is a free gift, but rewards are earned. Whatever Moses saw of heaven’s rewards outweighed the glory of anything Pharaoh could offer.
I believe Anna, 9, has seen something of heaven’s glories when she says: "Heaven will be like the dream I always wanted to dream. The streets will be paved with gold. I will see my Grandpa running, happy and young. Little angels will be playing in fields. The gates will be made of pearls. "You will never have to worry about cavities or what you eat. Maybe God’s castle will be made out of tiny rose buds. There won’t be any darkness. All the houses will be made out of rhinestones that shimmer. The picket fences won’t be made out of wood but sunflowers. There are flowers everywhere, some that you have seen and some that you have not seen."
Bible quotations are from the New King James Version. COPYRIGHT 2002 CAREY KINSOLVING