The first was a few weeks ago with my friend Meredith. We were brewing ideas about what to do with our afternoons and our friends, and Lake Matoaka came up. Then Jamestown Beach. Then Virginia Beach. Then California. Then Australia. And there's only one place better than Australia.
As the climax to this frenzy of outlandish suggestions about where to take our friends on a Sunday afternoon, Meredith suggested that we go to Heaven. This got me thinking quite seriously all of a sudden: what if we went to Heaven just for a few minutes and came back? I was focused less on the metaphysical implications of the event itself and more on the effect on our daily lives from then on out.
Heaven is something we trust that is true, but we do not know it experientially. We have seen echoes and reminders throughout nature and glimpses in worship, but these have all been merely glorious suggestions of the real thing. If all of a sudden we had that fulfilled knowledge, assuming we would be able to function after seeing our true home and experiencing true fulfillment and then leaving it, wouldn't we live with that as our frame of reference? It would such a strong impression that we would never stop living for it; it would never be out of our minds.
I don't think that the situation just described would be the perfect one, because through our broken journeys God teaches us and draws us to himself and improves us; experiencing the end result would be to cut out the journey of growth. But it is a really intriguing thought experiment to consider, because I do want to live with eternity in mind.
Another friend, later, mentioned the song Eden by Phil Wickham. She said that in a strange way it made her sad; not necessarily depressed, but sad that she was not yet in the state of bliss with God that the song speaks about, that she has to face each earthly day with its troubles. I told her not to see it primarily as something she doesn't have, but something that she will have, that has been promised to her, something she can live for. It is a sobering thought, but I believe it is also one that can remind us who we are, where we're going, and why we're here.