In 2002 a luxury hotel chain began operating the world’s only residential cruise ship. It is now possible to own or time-share an all-inclusive suite which journeys round the globe 365 days a year. No expense has been spared in creating the beautifully appointed apartments which range from two to four bedrooms with outdoor terraces and Jacuzzi tubs. I asked my husband whether he thought any bona fide Christians would purchase these accommodations, and he replied, “I certainly hope not!” It occurred to me then that this is a mission field crying out for laborers – and I am ready and willing to go!
The idea of floating in luxury past the Seven Wonders of the World calls to me at a deeper level than chocolate or puppies. I would love to see Antarctica in the sunlight. I would love to go to bed in Alaska and wake up in Hawaii. I want to sip tea with intimate friends and watch small countries slip past. What is it that draws me to a prospect I would normally eschew as the ultimate in wasteful self-absorption? Is it beauty? Is it rest? Is it fellowship? Is it freedom? Is it the desire to see more of God’s creative handiwork? Probably it is some combination of all these factors, but whatever it is, I’m going.
No, I haven’t traded my first-born child for a cabin in steerage. It’s just that I know, without doubt, that all the truly good things my heart yearns for are going to be realized in heaven. There I shall find perfect beauty, perfect rest, perfect fellowship, perfect understanding. It may not come in the form of a round-the-world cruise, but if not, then it will be something infinitely better. Perhaps you think it’s foolish to wistfully remark, “In heaven,” for all those earth-bound wishes we – or circumstances – deny ourselves. I don’t think so at all, because I really mean it. I want to cultivate a mindset that expects great things for the future. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9) It is only in heaven that all the good desires of our hearts are going to be wholly fulfilled and quieted. Do you long to be completely and unconditionally loved? Do you wish you had some beautiful, effortless gift to offer the world? Do you long to see or to do one completely perfect thing? Does your heart yearn for lightness, liberty, joy, well being? If there is something good in what you dream, you should remind yourself at every opportunity, “In heaven,” because you will find it all there, before the face of God.
In heaven I am going to drive an Audi TT convertible, and the mansion Jesus promised me will be a suite on a luxury liner. In the evening we’ll sing His praises on the back deck, and just for kicks I’m going to have a beautiful voice! OK, heaven may not look exactly like that, but the joyous anticipation of all the best things I can imagine gives me a better flavor for my future than thoughts of clouds and harps. I know that I will not be disappointed. The Apostle Paul, veteran of several first-century shipwrecks, preferred to use the metaphor of an athlete winning Olympic honors to express his vision of the future (I Cor. 9:24). Well, in heaven, He may climb the winner’s stand and receive his medal to the strains of the Tarsian anthem – but not me. I’m going to be cruising!