I read this today and thought of how true it is of me.
Happily Ever After Has Been Stolen
Our Enemy is a thief, and of all the precious things he has stolen from our hearts, his worst act of treachery has been to steal our future from us. He has stolen all the magic and promise and wonder of the happily ever after. Very few of us live with hope. To those without faith, he has whispered, “Your story ends with an accident, and then . . . there is nothing. This is as good as it gets.”
Small wonder people drink too much, eat too much, watch too much TV, basically check out. If they allow themselves to feel the depth of their actual longing for life and love and happiness, but have no hope that life will ever come . . . it’s just too much to bear.
But to those who search in faith for the ending of the Story, our Enemy has whispered an even more diabolical lie, harder to dispel because it is veiled in religious imagery: “Heaven will be a never-ending church service in the sky.” All those silly images of clouds and harps. I’ve heard innumerable times that “we shall worship God forever.” That “we shall sing one glorious hymn after another, forever and ever, amen.”
It sounds like hell to me.
Seriously now—even though we were given Eden as our paradise, this whole wondrous world of beauty, intimacy, and adventure, in the life to come we will be sent to church forever because that’s better somehow? There is no hope in that. That’s not what’s written on our hearts.
I mean, really. We have dreamed better dreams than God can dream? We have written stories that have a better ending than God has provided? It cannot be.
I have some really good news for you: that’s not the so-called Good News. Not even close.
I believe that lie so often, the lie that I am stuck and that this is the best it will ever be. Especially when I hear things like “These are the best years of your life!” and “Enjoy it now because once kids come…”. Like, this is it. But there is good news. Not only did Christ die for me so that I can be reconciled to God and have eternal life, He wants to have a relationship with me, and heaven will be joyful. I often hear that lie that heaven will be one long “church service in the sky”, so to me that means I will be freezing cold, and we will sing, and although I love Matt Chandler a lot, I don’t know about an eternity. I might get hungry or something.
But the truth is that all of the fun times we have on earth, I believe are glimpses of what heaven will be like. That is why they are so fleeting, because this world is covered in sin, so we can only see moments of what heaven will be like. I think that the God who created laughter and kids who play “transformers” at church, and music, and Mexican Train, and puppies running in the yard, and naps and mountain climbing, and snorkeling, and swimming, and sea turtles and friends and beer and cake has much more planned for heaven than singing out of a hymnal. Because worshiping God is much more than a church service.
So that is our hope, that He can and will carry us through this life, daily making us more like Him, and in the end, we will finally be whole when we can see wholly Him.