Heaven Is Not a Consolation Prize

We long for a return to Paradise—a perfect world, without the corruption of sin, where God walks with us and talks with us in the cool of the day. Because we’re human beings, we desire something tangible and physical, something that will not fade away. And that is exactly what God promises us—a home that will not be destroyed, a kingdom that will not fade, a city with unshakable foundations, an incorruptible inheritance.

God has encouraged me with memories of the conversations Nanci and I enjoyed about the world to come. Nanci had what she called her New Earth bucket list, which included her dream to spend a lot of time by the water, playing with dogs and dolphins and other creatures, enjoying the presence of Jesus directly, face to face, and also in His creation. While of course that doesn’t erase the pain of grief and loss, the eternal focus we enjoyed together has made an incredible difference for me.

When I talk with people who have also lost a loved one, I am struck by how often the promise of the New Earth seems absent from their thoughts. They view Heaven only as consolation and the absence of pain and suffering and sin. It’s as if their best days living with their loved ones in a physical realm are all behind them.

We long not only for consolation, but for restoration and the fulfillment of our deepest desires! As Charles Spurgeon wrote, “To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes.”

What means so much to me is not just the present Heaven, but the promise of resurrection and the New Earth. It’s the promise of unprecedented, global, overflowing good, not simply the absence of bad.

In keeping with Romans 8 and other passages, God’s original plan for righteous men and women to rule the earth to His glory was not thwarted by Satan in the garden but was purchased by Jesus on the cross. That is the wonderful future we have to look forward to: living eternally as embodied people on the redeemed earth and being face to face with our Savior. I envision Nanci and I both falling to our knees to worship Him in His awesome holiness, and also walking and talking with Him as only best friends do.

My heart overflows as I think about Nanci and how we have, for so long, looked forward to the future Heaven on the New Earth. Imagine living life with the risen Jesus and His risen people on a risen earth! Picture worshiping and eating and drinking and serving and playing and laughing and talking! Nanci’s and my best days really do lie ahead. That’s not wishful thinking. It’s the promise of Jesus, purchased by His death and resurrection.

I dedicated my newly released book, The Promise of the New Earth, to Nanci: “To my beloved bride, now with Jesus. What a privilege, my sweetheart, to have lived this life with you. I so look forward to the wonders and glories we will experience together in the world to come, where joy will be the air we breathe.”

Jesus is the primary, everyone else is secondary. But when you enjoy Him as primary, then it opens the door to more fully enjoy all that is secondary. I can’t wait to see Nanci again and have her show me around the present Heaven, and after the resurrection, when we relocate to the New Earth, for us to experience it for the first time together, in the presence of Jesus. How glorious that will be!

Randy Alcorn

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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