Recently, my wife and I moved back to Canada from China. While we will definitely miss some things about China and the many wonderful people we met there, Canada is still definitely ‘home’ for me. In the end, I was counting down the days and excited to be returning home. I was enthusiastic about moving from an environment that was still unfamiliar to me, one where I didn’t fully belong, to one where I did belong.
This made me think of how we ought to feel about heaven. For so many, the ‘end of life’ is some terrifying thought, a precipice leading to an unknown state and perhaps even an unknown realm. Others prefer to imagine some sort of wish fulfillment scenario or a state of eternal sleep. Not so for Christians!
The Bible calls us ‘aliens’ in a foreign land. (I Peter 2:11) This world is not where we belong. There’s been a temptation at times to remember this above all other things, so that we ignore the problems of the world. Some even hope to hasten the end times by ignoring or despairing of the problems in our world. These are inappropriate responses, just as it would be inappropriate of me in China to be looking forward to Canada at the expense of my work and relationships there.
But there ought to be an excitement when we do reflect on the future. The end of life on earth is about leaving the land where we’ve been wandering as a foreigner (a laowai as we would be called in China) for heaven, our true home. What an exciting thought!