Faces on Faith: A heavenly dream
I know that dreams are unreliable when it comes to providing concrete, verifiable information.
I realize they can be the product of a pepperoni pizzaor an underdone potato. But I also know that throughout both Biblical and Secular history, dreams have had powerful influence.
Recently I dreamed I visited heaven. It was so vivid that I thought that my wife would find me dead in the bed the next morning.
While I won’t go into detail, I found it profound that there was nothing in the dream that conflicted with anything that the Bible describes about Heaven.
Of course, the Bible says heaven is indescribable, so that does allow for a lot of leeway.
First I noticed the pure radiant light that was all around me. Even my body, which was obviously a new body, was radiant. Yet in that radiant light, there were the most magnificent colors.
Permeating the light was an overwhelming sense of love. It made me think that the way we use the word loveor how we describe love does not come close to what real love is.
I knew it was the love of God.
I was struck by wisdom that just seemed to flow instantaneously.
Before I could ask a question (and I know we all think we are going to have a lot of questions when we get on the other side), the answers cameand there was this incredible peace.
I had no harp, no wings, and no cloud to sit upon (after all, the Bible makes it clear we don’t become angels). While I was in total awe of everything around me, I somehow knew I was about to receive my next assignment.
That’s the part that surprised meand actually thrilled me. I had never found much solace in heaven being a place of an eternal church service. (Even as a pastor.)
Later, as I awoke I was reminded of the words of Jesus that we would “reign with Him,” and in the assignment that He was giving me, I was given opportunity to partner with Him in His Kingdom.
I knew I was there because of nothing I had done. It was totally by grace. And that grace had been demonstrated so powerfully by Jesus coming and dying on the cross in my placeand being resurrected ahead of me.
I was there because of Jesus.
For a moment, I did get a glimpse of hell. I believe I felt the sadness of God’s heart. It seemed very simple, everyone there was there because God gave them what they had always wanted: life without Him.
It was eternal separation from the loving God who gives us free will to reject Himbut that separation is eternal, pointless, purposeless and full of despair.
Yes, it was a dreamand I probably will not know until the other side how much of it was truly a picture of the other side. But I look at heaven differently nowand my passion for people to know the loving, living God through His Son Jesus Christ is stronger than ever.
-Daryl Donovan is Senior Pastor of Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.