People, even Christians, talk about heaven and hell like it's the end game. The awards ceremony. The aftermath. But that's the complete opposite! This "life" can't even compare in length or in joy to what we'll have afterwards. This is only preparation, a test, a little assessment to see how you'll fare in the real thing.
CS Lewis says it better than I can, in The Last Battle.
And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no on on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Wow. Reading that made me look at life so much more differently.
Don't you ever feel like life is so short and passing quickly? It is. It's really weird that they call now "life" and later "death" when we only, truly, live in heaven? This is just a short preparation, a short test run, a few experimental chene turns across the floor before the true dance.
In Narnia they call Earth "The Shadowlands." That's what this is. Come on, the world's shadowed. Bad things happen to good people, and sometimes it seems like evil is winning after all. Nothing lasts here. Every thing that is built falls apart and wears out.
Excerpt from Someday Heaven by Larry Libby:
If you are thinking you might get bored or tired after being in heaven for a while...don't worry! Try to imagine something with me. Imagine you are a little bird who lives in a tiny cage made of rusty metal. And inside your cage you have a food dish, and a little mirror, and a tiny perch to swing on.
Then one day, some kind person takes your cage to a big, beautiful forest. The forest is splashed with sunlight. Proud, towering trees cover the hills and valleys as far as you can see. There are gushing waterfalls, and bushes drooping with purple berries, and fruit trees, and carpets of wild flowers, and a wide blue sky to fly in. And besides all these things, there are millions of other little birds, hopping from one green limb to another and eating their fill, and raising their little families, and singing their hearts out all through the day. Now, little bird, can you imagine wanting to stay in your cage? Can you imagine saying, "Oh please don't let me go. I will miss my cage, I will miss my little food dish with seeds in it. I will miss my plastic mirror and my tiny little perch. I might get bored in that big forest.
Someday we'll be sitting in heaven and laughing about how much earth sucked. God just put us here for a short, little test run, set in a hastily built shadow of the real thing.
Our trials on earth can't compare to the joy we'll face later.
It's like getting a paper cut before inheriting ten million dollars, a tank of fish, a comfy chair, a cat, albums of Taylor Swift, and a airport hanger full of Star Wars books. Actually, two airport hangers.
Sometimes I think I'll miss life; other times I can't wait to get out of here. Come quickly, Jesus! And don't stop for coffee on the way. We're waiting!
I can't wait till we finally get to start the real, actual, life.