For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”(NRSV)
It has been rightly said that some followers of Jesus are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly use. But it can also be true that some followers of Jesus get too preoccupied with this chapter of our whole life story. This chapter on this present earth is but one chapter of a never ending story that will be lived out in the new heavens and the new earth.
And this present chapter can throw a lot at us. There is hunger and thirst, spiritual as well as material. There is the heat of oppression and the aridity of distance from God. There can be dryness, there can be unfulfilled desires. None of this adds up to constant misery, but is a reminder that this life is something of a foretaste of what is to come. We can’t have it all just yet. We only have a taste of heaven.
So it is good to keep heaven in mind. Not as some unreal wafting around the stratosphere, but rather as an indescribable enhancement of the good things God gives us in this chapter of life. Now we have sorrow mingled with gladness. Then we will have only gladness. Now we have setbacks and victories. Then we will only have victories.
One day the frustrations will end, the longings will be satisfied, the pleasures fulfilled. One day the tears will cease.