By Roger W. Thomas
Friday, July 01, 2005
Heaven confuses many people. Some don't understand much about it. Others are convinced they know all they want to know and have decided they aren't interested. A lot of people think heaven sounds boring with a capital B!
Huck Finn said that he thought heaven was a place where a person would "go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever." I have never heard any of you play the harp. I have heard some of you sing. With all due respect, I don't think much of the idea of spending forever listening to either. Undoubtedly it was this perspective that led Mark Twain to write on another occasion, "I'll take Heaven for the climate and Hell for the society."
A few years ago, the subject of heaven came up in a speech before the National Press Club by Ted Turner, the millionaire founder and former owner of CCN. Turner is sometimes not so affectionately called "the mouth of the South." I don't know the context. Perhaps someone had asked him about his ex-wife Jane Fonda's professed conversion to Christ. I suspect Turner spoke for a lot of people when he said, "Heaven is going to be a mighty slender place. And most of the people I know in life aren't going to be there. There are a few notable exceptions and I'll miss them . . . Heaven is perfect. Who wants to go to a place that's perfect? Boring. Boring."
Heaven will be a lot of things — beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent, marvelous, amazing, fantastic, surprising, radiant! But boring isn't one of them! That notion is one of Satan's big lies. The Deceiver will do anything he can to discourage saints and sinners alike from becoming too enthusiastic about what God has in store for those who love him. Two tactics have proven especially effective. He paints hell as one big party and heaven as a bunch of monks standing around watching paint dry.
For one thing, there will far too much to explore. Boredom comes from shortened horizons and limited expectations. I remember when our older kids were in upper grade school or junior high. A few days after school was out in June they began to complain about being bored. "There's nothing to do. We're bored!" I'll bet you have heard the same complaint. Of course, all they had been doing all day was sitting around the house watching TV. Like any thoughtful parent I tried to solve their problem by offering to have them mow the lawn, clean house, or wash the windows. That went over like a screen door in a submarine!
After listening to the complaints for several days, I decided on another approach. I told them they didn't have to do any of the chores. They could do whatever they wanted. But I unplugged the television and put it in a closet. Wow, did the child abuse hotline ring off the wall that day! Within a few hours, they decided that anything was better than sitting in the house staring at the walls. So they adventured outside. It took a while, but before long they found so much to do and were having so much fun that we had to convince them to come in for supper. They found games to play, friends to meet, a neighborhood to explore, and adventures to discover. Summer suddenly became anything but boring.