After this I, John, looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. And one of the elders then said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
A vision of heaven, where all desires and needs are met; where we are fully comforted; where there is an understanding of all things and a fullness of heart we can only imagine from here. The hope of heaven is something I didn’t really understand until I suffered, acknowledged, and processed some of my great ordeals—realized God’s love for me and allowed it to wash me clean. It hasn’t happened overnight, mind you. It’s definitely still happening. It has taken time, constant revelation, softening, and healing for me to learn to accept this Love.
Even just today in prayer, meditating on Psalm 139:13-18, I was given the grace of a new depth of awe that each person is truly treasured by God, that He made each one of us unique and important. In my prayer I asked God how it is possible that we are so many, and how He could love all of us THIS MUCH and how we (even identical twins) can all be different. I was reminded that God is limitless and so is His power, and as it says in Psalm 139, the sum of His thoughts about all of us, even before our days began, is greater than the sand (Psalm 139:17-18). His creative design, with all its variations, is perfect because it is in the variations that we can complement, refine, and ultimately bless each other. That in John’s heavenly vision there is a great multitude that no one could count, all tribes and people and languages, is a testament to the truth that God’s love is for everyone, and the same for all.
"His creative design, with all its variations, is perfect because it is in the variations that we can complement, refine, and ultimately bless each other."
When I worship God, it is out of gratitude for all He has done in my life. For all the paths He has made straight, for all the healing He has done, for all the peace He has brought. For the heart of stone he is removing from me and replacing with a heart of flesh. For the gift of tears—the tears that represent His compassion flowing through me, or the joy His love brings that is beyond any other feeling. For the confidence He’s given me in the knowledge of my belovedness—nobody can take that away! So, I can say that I understand the hope of heaven insofar as I know what it feels like to worship at any given moment, to find shelter from life’s storms, to have my hunger redirected toward Him who can satisfy all my desires; my thirst for beauty quenched by springs of the water of life, and to have my tears wiped away. To those along my path who have shown me God’s love, I offer gratitude beyond words, and to God, I offer my life, as imperfect as it is, in the hope of giving others a glimpse of the heavenly vision.