None of us has gone [to heaven.] We are left largely to our imaginations to visualize what heaven is like…. We have [also] been left with the revelations of a few people who have actually seen heaven and lived to tell about it. Isaiah was one of them (Isaiah 6). The Apostle Paul was another (2 Corinthians 12:1-7). The disciple John was still another (Revelation 19-22). The revelations were so dazzling, they overwhelmed each one of them.
“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Whatever else heaven is, it is more than our experience of life here on earth, not less. It is the fullness of life, not its reduction. It is the waking, as C.S. Lewis put it, not the dream.
From the glimpses given us… we know that whatever else heaven is, it is full of joy. The picture He left us with is one of merriment, of music, dancing, and feasting (vv. 22-25). “Enter into the joy of your master,” are the words He used in a parable to describe the rewards of heaven (Matthew 25:21, 23).
Now and then we get firefly glimpses of that joy… Fleeting moments that pass all understanding. Here one second, someplace else the next. With childlike excitement we follow them, hoping to catch one of them long enough to take in the wonder of it all.
C.S. Lewis describes the feeling as an “inconsolable longing.” In those moments of longing our joy speaks to us. It speaks to us the way the lick of the spoons speaks of birthday cake, the way the smell of roasting turkey speaks of the Thanksgiving meal, the way the scent of pine speaks of Christmas.
And what it speaks of, is heaven.
[More beautiful passages on winter and hope during difficult seasons can be found in Winter’s Promise, Ken Gire’s latest book, releasing in February, 2014.]