Early this spring, on one of the first warm and sunny weekends, when the grass had just turned a brilliant green, my wife and I decided to take the family to the park for a picnic after church. It was such a beautiful day, with dazzling sunshine, a perfect blue sky, birds singing, and a gentle, warm breeze. The park was full of people, and my two young boys couldn’t wait to play on the playground. It seemed like such a perfect day, and I imagined that this must be a little taste of what heaven will be like.
As we collected our things from the car and found a picnic table, I carried the car seat with our 6 month old daughter. She was in a happy, smiley mood, and was being cute as the dickens. I sat the car seat down at my feet and we had lunch. All through lunch I traded smiles with my daughter and “played peak a boo.” I was enjoying this time with my daughter and she seemed was enthralled with me. As our lunch went on it occurred to me that though we were surrounded by beauty and good things to enjoy and explore, my little daughter didn’t want to take her eyes off me. And though we were surrounded by beautiful things, the most beautiful thing to me was my little daughter’s smile (except for maybe my wife’s smile looking at the both of us).
The thought then struck me, that this is an example of what heaven is going to be like. We will be in absolute paradise, the garden of Eden remade, but better. No more sickness, pain, or death. No more sorrow, broken relationships, or sin (evil) of any kind. The beauty of the place will be beyond our wildest dreams. The brilliance of God’s city (the new Jerusalem) will be “like that of a very precious jewel, the great street of the city,.. pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Revelation 21) The scriptures describe in detail the extravagance of this place.
Yet, despite the grandeur that will surround us, I believe that we won’t be able to take our eyes off our Heavenly Father. He will hold our attention for eternity to come. Just as my little daughter was filled with joy just being with me, we will be filled with an unimaginable joy in the presence of our Father God. Unlike the “happiness” we experience in this present world which quickly fades, the joy that we will experience in heaven will increase throughout all of eternity as we get to know our Heavenly Father better and better! Our joy level will be in proportion to how well we know the Lord (this is true even now).
In Zephaniah 3:13-17 there is a description of the new heaven and earth:
The remnant of Israel (this is us! All those who have humbly and honestly sought Jesus for forgiveness and salvation Galatians 3:29) will do no wrong (who in this present world does no wrong? Obviously this is talking about heaven and the new earth Hebrews 12:23); they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid. Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! (this is us, we will be rejoicing with all our heart because of our great joy) Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you (we will be joyful because God is with us); never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp;” The Lord your God I s with you, he is might to save. (Now comes my favorite part; God is pictured delighting in and singing over us as a tender father would his young child) He will take great delight in you, he will rejoice over you with singing.
We have a perfect Father in heaven, an Awesome Father in heaven, we have a Father in heaven who loves us with an infinite love, whose mercy and grace is unending and (note John 17:24) who longs for us to be with him!
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY ABBA!
"You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba' Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, them we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…"