Archives for : pleasures

WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE?

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room. He said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. I need to know what to expect when I go to heaven. Please tell me what lies on the other side.”

The doctor wanted to offer comfort to his patient, but he didn’t know what to say. Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?! Then why do you want to go to heaven if you don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was uneasy and was holding the handle of the door. From the other side came a sound of scratching and loud whining. As the doctor opened the door, a dog sprang into the room with his tail wagging and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness.”

It’s true that while we are given a glimpse of what lies ahead, there is a great deal that we don’t know and often wonder about. Will there be a literal street of gold and a gate of pearl? Highly unlikely. Those kinds of images may be helpful in understanding how precious heaven is, but they are not of much value in helping us to know exactly what it will look like.

And quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me, for two reasons. First of all, I trust my heavenly Father to provide nothing less than the very best for His children. And secondly, as the doctor in the story above pointed out, the only thing that really matters is that we will be in the presence of God. Living in a shack in His presence would be preferable to living in a mansion apart from Him. Whatever else heaven may be, its essence is that we have the opportunity to have intimate fellowship with God.

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ ” (Rev. 20:12)

Recently, I read a quote that has convicted me more than anything I’ve heard in a long time. John Piper asked the question, “If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”

It makes me wonder if we’re anxious to get to heaven to have the opportunity to be with God, or if we just want to go because it’s a place where we’ll enjoy ourselves and have all the comforts and pleasures that we’d like to have right now. Think about it.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith