I was driving with my sixteen-year-old son the other day, and I was struck by the disparity between what we Christians say about heaven and how we feel about heaven. The disparity is something I was sure my son saw, and so I meant to drag it into the open. I wanted to help him feel some kind of real excitement for heaven.
So I leaned on one of his pleasures. Watching movies. “Imagine,” I said, “that Star Trek is real. That there really are starships flying about the universe, skipping from star system to star system, engaging a thousand different worlds. And imagine that this world is one of the worlds they have sworn not to contact for fear of interfering with humanity’s progress. Can you imagine that?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Good. I realize that we don’t believe alien life exists, but just for the moment, let’s pretend that God has allowed such life, and that he is in full control of that life. Follow?”
“Good. Now imagine that you were visited by an emissary who turned out to be an angel from God. The emissary whisked you away to a holding place deep in the mountains and informed you that what I’ve said is real. There are thousands of spaceships throughout the universe. Hundreds of exotic worlds to discover. But more than all of this, they’ve informed you that you are the twelfth son in a lineage that countless billions have had their eyes on for many years. You, JT Dekker, are the rightful heir to a position of great power in the universe. At this very moment more than a billion people have gathered on a certain planet in the next star system, eagerly awaiting your arrival. The time has come for you to choose to either embrace the role for which you were born or stay here on earth forever.”
“Okay,” my son said with a smirk.
“`You can bring seven others with you,’ the emissary tells you. `We will transport you to the planet, where you will walk into a massive arena specially built for your arrival. The roar of the crowd will shatter the stillness of space. But you have to decide today. If you choose to stay, your memory of this visit will be wiped out, and you’ll never again be given the opportunity to take your rightful place as God’s leader for a hundred worlds.’ Follow?”
“Would you go?”
My son’s eyes lit up. “Of course.”
And what sixteen-year-old boy wouldn’t? Who could resist the call of such great adventure and discovery?
“What if heaven were as real as that?” I asked. “Would you want to go? I mean now, today?”
No hesitation. “Yes.”
“Heaven is more real than that. And far better,” I said.
Ted Dekker The Slumber of Christianity. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005, p. 173-174.