For whatever reasons in my experiences and personality, I have often looked forward in life to a better situation: I’ll be able to drive, I’ll be finished with high school, I’ll have a job, I’ll be married, I’ll live in my own home, etc. I find myself sometimes weary of the present because of problems that I have to face today, and I sometimes wish I were already ahead in tomorrow. Not least does this occur for my desire to be in Heaven.
Obviously, we all desire to be free from the ravages of sin, unobstructed in the enjoyment of God and others. Thinking about Heaven has brought me back in a roundabout way to enjoying daily life one moment at a time. Being “heavenly minded” enables me to do “earthly good.” My confidence in the future provisions of God are a great help for living responsively to God in the present.
When I teach about heaven in class, students are sometimes disappointed to consider that some good things such as marriage and sex will not continue in the new creation. Some people might be disappointed to consider that there are most likely no video games, cell phones, or cars in heaven (at least in my hope for the new earthly heaven and heavenly earth, bicycles will be prominent, however). I wondered about what are truly the best things in life now, and how the next phase of life (everlasting) will provide for those things.
I think that the very best thing in life now is relationship with other people: God and others. While the modes of experiencing relationship in the new creation might be adjusted to resurrected realities (so, no marriage or procreation), the relationship goals are still fulfilled and in much greater ways. So, the best things in life now are also the best things in everlasting life.
That makes good sense with the goals of God in original creation, making the man and the woman together, and near to himself in the garden. The New Covenant also focuses on renewal of relationship with God through the removal of sin and the indwelling of God’s Spirit in the creature. God lives embedded in me so that I can know Him personally. Finally, John 17:3 seems to mark “eternal life” as knowing God through Jesus, a relationship that Christians are invited to enjoy daily now.
So, Heaven is for real, and we anticipate it by living enjoyable in relationships with God and others now; and that will be only better later and forever than what we have now.