I’ve been enjoying some sweet dirt-therapy in my very first “real” garden! I researched companion plants, laid out a plan on paper, in a grid, drawn to scale no less, with an actual ruler. You could say it’s a pretty serious endeavor.
The enjoyment I’ve found in the grit and grace has been a happy surprise. I have to gear myself up for the work but once there, I’m in heaven!
Living for Heaven
I misplaced my love of playing in the dirt for a few decades, but now that it’s back I think it’s here to stay. A few weeks ago, I even felt compelled to snap a picture of my freshly mixed dirt!
I laughed in surprise over how taken I was with its beauty. But I also found a bit of nervous laughter when I wondered whether we’d need to mix soil for our gardens in heaven, followed by internal debate on whether “perfect” meant pre-mixed or whatever was most fulfilling to our spiritual self. Of all the surprises that wheelbarrow of dirt held, me questioning what is heaven like was the biggest.
It shouldn’t have been surprising though. The subject has been on repeat lately. It’s come up in conversation at home, in my small group and even in another family member’s small group which then wove it’s way into conversations between the two of us.
And after listening to Jen Hatmaker’s first episode in the For the Love of Faith Groundbreakers podcast series, I decided I’d HAVE to find Osheta Moore in heaven for a sweet walk and talk along the sea of glass.
The once foreign concept of “eternity in our hearts” was taking shape.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
Misconceptions About Heaven
In a small group conversation, a friend candidly explained how she’s fearful of eternal life because she doesn’t know what to expect. She’s not alone. The term “fear of eternity” is Googled around 500 times per month. It even has a name; Apeirophobia.
There is often an element of fear surrounding the unknown. Contrasted with our dependence on clocks, calendars and the tracking of milestones, wrapping our head around 10,000 years being just a drop in the time bucket of eternity is impossible. There’s no way to grasp what that will be like.
But we sure try, don’t we?
As a kid, I was confident Heaven was going to be boring. And as a young adult (30’s counts as young adult, right? Guess that depends on the audience!), I was confident I didn’t have time to cling to the promise of eternal life. Sure, it would be great once I got there but my RIGHT THEN had bigger fish to fry. I was too desperate for fixes earthside to wistfully contemplate the afterlife! In my limited perspective, heaven just didn’t matter in the here and now.
But now? I’m confident I was no more right then than I was as a kid.
God is a god of order and there are no “on a whim” decisions in his creation. He placed a sense of eternity in our hearts for a reason.
Eternity in Our Hearts
In the last few months, I’ve been far more sensitive to this sense of eternity in our hearts. As laid out previously, I see glimpses of heaven in dirt. I see it in smiling faces and bright green grass against stormy skies. I feel the pull of eternity in every messy feeling and suddenly that “light and momentary pain” verse doesn’t prick so sharply or reduce me to the rolling of eyes.
I see the promise of us reaching fullness in people like my friend, Mariah, who stayed roadside with a stranger after an auto accident. The young woman, who had traveled here to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery work, died alone at the hospital a few hours later. I know the face of my friend was one of the last she saw. I see Ecclesiastes 3:11 with clarity in the goodness of Mariah and her ache for healing and added time.
How Can We Know God Planted Eternity in Our Hearts?
One of my favorite verses indicates we receive consciousness of higher power through observing nature. God created our world and he inhabits it. He desires to commune with us and does not leave it to chance!
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20 HCSB
I believe seeing God’s heart in creation is the very start of a holistic faith lifestyle.
What Does Eternity in Our Hearts Mean for Humanity?
This invite is imprinted on every human heart, which:
- Reveals God is set on reconciling us to him.
- Brings awareness that there is more than what is seen, felt and understood.
- Provides us recognition of our limits.
- Beckons us to seek him without limits.
What Is Heaven Like?
That’s not something we can fully understand until we get there and I can only assume that is by design.
God placing eternity in our hearts but having it remain a mystery compels us to search for “something more”. This knowing of, but not fully comprehending, opens a door for our quid-pro-quo checks-and-balances minds to consider the existence of something we can’t measure or predict.
This spiritual awareness he planted in us, compels us to search for meaning outside ourselves. When our meaning and purpose is found in Jesus, we find love and grace completely pure and without compromise.
When his love light meets the concept of eternity planted in our heart, we begin to extend unmerited grace and love to others. It’s not perfect, but often our attempts are enough to pull others in to warm their hands by the fire, to get still and contemplate this perfect and holy “something more”.
Live Like Heaven Is On Earth
Though we can’t get a detailed picture of what we’ll be doing for eternity, we know we will be made whole, we’ll shed our human limitations, and find fulfillment in all we do living in God’s presence.
3 Ways to Live Like Heaven is on Earth
- Acknowledge his faithfulness in ALL THINGS.
- “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” ~2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)
- “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” ~Psalm 84:11 (ESV)
- See him in ALL THINGS.
- Pray for Holy Spirit revelation to see God in
- what he’s created,
- who you share time and space with,
- in your limitations that push you to seek his limitless power, love and grace,
- in both new life and in death, see him in all things.
- Ask for spiritual curiosity; an unequivocal humility that recognizes there’s far more to him, his creation, his Is, Was, and To-Be-ness than we can comprehend here on earth. Then look for him in the unexpected places. He promises us he is everywhere.
- Pray for Holy Spirit revelation to see God in
- Praise him in ALL THINGS.
- In the good, the bad, and the mundane, find reason to praise him. Gratitude reminds us there’s more than the right now, as well as potential to improve overall health.
Eternal Life After Death
God planted eternity in our hearts as a way to draw us near. Meditate on these passages and consider using written prayer in response to your reading and the questions below.
How do these verses apply to you, as well as those in and outside your inner circle?
What conclusions can be drawn about God’s love?
How does loving others honor our creator?
Where do we need his help in this area as a church? What about individually?
When we understand that despite our limits and our mistakes, we are all loved and all invited, things relax. Tensions with others loosen. The weight of sin, both that chosen by us and done to us, loses power. Any burden of being glorious enough on our own becomes laughable.
Having this sense of eternity in our hearts is such a gift! It compels us to seek God and enables acceptance of what we do not fully understand in the gifts of his unmerited love and grace. This is the truth that sets us free! And leaving behind anything that hinders and entangles us, we run our earthly race without growing tired. With eyes fixed on him and what’s in store, it all comes full circle! We are freed to do what we’re called to do. Love God. Love others. This is the After-Easter message of freedom and you’ve held the invite all along!
Prayer: God, I cannot comprehend you. I cannot understand your magnitude or your gifts yet somehow you make yourself so incredibly accessible. Thank you for inviting me to be made new in your love, God. I want to shake off all that you have not intended for me so that I can walk in the truth of who you created me to be. I trust that you are good and I choose to take you up on your invite. Help me to love you and love others. Make me sensitive to when I get it wrong, knowing you will never leave me there. Keep my heart soft and teachable. Let me never forget how you are faithful in all things, present in all things and praise worthy in all things. Amen.