January 20, 2013

My heavenly home

After moving twenty-nine times, I can’t help but wonder what kind of home I will have in heaven. What does Jesus mean when He says He is preparing a place?
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

The word translated as the Father’s “house” simply means His residence, but it implies a domestic residence where a family lives. The word Jesus used for a “place” is different and means a location or locality. This indicates that my place will be with God and His family.

The other word is “rooms” — a given place to stay. It could be abode, but could also be translated mansions. When the abode of God is considered in terms of the vastness of His creation, those “many rooms” do not have to be limited in size or location. They could be as spacious as space itself and as varied and beautiful as the stars in the sky. This expands my ideas about this eternal place He has promised me.

Even though the Bible has much to say about heaven, it gives very little description. The word for heaven points outward and upward. The concept is the place where God dwells. Because He is there, there is no sin nor the consequences of sin in this place. Some think there will be nothing to do there, but that is not the biblical picture. Even so, the Bible does say we cannot see or imagine what God has prepared for us.

Nevertheless, we do like to imagine. Today’s devotional writer let his imagination run with the idea of rooms, each with four walls and an inscription written to bless the person living in that room. For instance, the rooms of those who have “often doubted their acceptance and forgiveness, who have walked in darkness and with difficulty stayed themselves on God, questioning whether they might not in the end be castaways” might have inscribed on the doorway, “Your many sins have been forgiven.

This made me ponder what God might write on my “room.” What eternal truth would He give me as an assurance or explanation for my life? Would it be Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Perhaps it would be this one that addresses some of my struggles: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14) or the reassurance of Romans 8 that ends with the promise of His unending love and also contains these great verses about His purpose for me:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…. (Romans 8:28–29)

I don’t know about heaven being a room; I rather like the idea of mansion. Yet whatever my “room” or “place” is like, God’s decisions are fine with me. He is wise and good to me as I live in this place, this world full of sin and dread. How much more will His goodness be magnified when sin is eradicated and all fear is gone!

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3–4)

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