A Place Beyond
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
Christianity is an “Other World” religion. It declares that there is life beyond planet Earth. Indeed, there is life beyond the universe. Furthermore, Christianity affirms, “We have been visited by beings from this place beyond.” The bottom line is that Christians expect to live in that place that is beyond all sight, measurement, or sense of direction; to live in peace and harmony with the beings that already dwell there.
So far, we have experienced nothing but life on Earth. Our forays into sky and space have been so insignificant that a major telescope on our neighboring planet would not have even noticed them. It seems safe to say: “In the main, earthbound we are, and earthbound we will remain.” But that is not a safe statement to make—because it is not true!
The people of God have information available to them that transcends what even an exploration of deep space could reveal. We have a record of extra-terrestrial beings, called angels, who have come to this planet and interacted with humans. We have a record of their conversations and their activities. The record has been authenticated.
And there is something greater. Much greater! A Being who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and demanding of only right thinking, speaking, and acting, has made contact with Earth. In fact, he was here before humans or any other life appeared on the planet. He made all this. He made us! He gave us perfection—and we ruined it. That brought his anger.
As a result, we might expect that all that would be left to this planet now is a mushroom cloud, with hot ashes of destruction. But Earth is still here. We can still see blue skies and blue waters. It is still called the Blue Planet. How can we account for this?
Only one word will do: love! The One from Beyond, the one who made all, and judges all, possesses an amazing love for the humans he placed onto this planet. He has delayed its destruction.
When the time was right, his Son came to live among us for some 33 years. During that time, he did what was necessary to enable humans to escape from the absolute destruction that is coming. He lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death. Because of him, we can live forever. Those who put their faith in him will do just that.
But where will we live that forever life? The answer is: “In the place beyond, in the place where the eternal Lord of Glory came from.” We call that place heaven.
It’s easy to forget that. Our lives are so busy with earthly things. After all, we need to make a living. That takes time and effort. We face challenges and deadlines. That requires us to be focused.
We might feel that thinking about heaven can wait until we have time for it—or until we have no choice but to give it some attention. When death walks into the room, everything else fades from view for a while. When walking out of the clinic with the news, “If you want to do some traveling, do it within four months.” the stunned patient told his wife, “I just can’t wrap my head around that.”
Who could blame him? He had just lost weight. He was exercising regularly. He was relatively young. His shoulder had been bothering him. He was hoping to be told how to get rid of that nagging pain.
He was not hoping or expecting to learn he would soon die.
“I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven” (Psalm 123:1). the psalmist wrote.
That’s the response of those who can say, “My hope is in the name of the Lord.” Those who serve the Savior are not at the mercy of accident or disease. Advancing years do not mean the permanent loss of ability and vitality. They know there is more to life than that which can be seen or felt now.
They lift up their eyes to where the Good Shepherd is leading. They want to be with him.
The Rescuer of humankind no longer dwells here physically. Forty days after he conquered death he went back home. He went alone. But he left behind a promise: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” He adds, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
So, we wait. We wait with eager anticipation. We wait for Jesus to return and take us to that place beyond.
We pray: Lord Jesus, Friend of sinners and Savior of souls, you sent angels to tell the disciples staring at the skies into which you had ascended, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Remind us of this. Teach us to live each day with that day in mind. Amen.
Points to Ponder
- If heaven is our home, why do we often not feel like it is true?
- What comfort comes from knowing that Jesus, himself, is preparing our place in heaven?
- Why does waiting for heaven motivate us to action here and now rather than make us lazy?