I firmly believe that when we get to Heaven, we shall spend lots of time leaning on each other and laughing about the things we used to disagree about.
“You remember we used to think that? How wrong were we?! And how foolish we were to argue about it!”
You see, in Heaven we will know the way that God really thinks; what He really feels about certain (what we call) ‘issues’, which in actual fact we’ll see He’s not (and never was) too bothered about – and certainly not as bothered about as we like to think He is.
Revelation 15:3 has this picture of Heaven where the people are singing:
“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, O King of the Saints”.
Although in some ways (because Heaven is not bound by time), this song is being sung right now; as far as we perceive it, it is being sung in the future when all the outworkings of God’s plans for our earthly lives will have come to their conclusion.
And those saints (that is, believers) have a Heavenly perspective. They can look at the whole sweep of time and history in its entirety, and when they see that, they sing that song. And notice how they *still* say that God’s ways are just – they are full of justice – and true – they are full of truth. Those people can see that actually despite what they thought during their earthly lives, God was actually in charge all along and was working His purpose out. Through good things and bad; through happiness and also through suffering. They can see the whole story; they have read the ending and it is a happy one, and they praise God for being the ultra-clever dude who has worked it all out for them.
And in that crowd of saints, I will be leaning on people with whom I have had doctrinal, theological and ideological differences, so that we can laugh together. Because then we will see just how foolish and petty our differences really were. Things that seemed so important to us ‘back then’ (i.e. right now!) will seem insignificant in the light of the Glory of God and in the actual, visible, historical outworking of His plans.
On Earth, our culture tends to emphasise differences. Black, white, gay, straight, tall, short….whereas the culture of Heaven emphasises unity and commonality. ‘A great multitude….from every tribe and nation’, the Bible says, stands before the Throne of God (Revelation 7:9). This speaks to me that the differences will be irrelevant, except as a means to celebrate God’s creativity!
“But”, some may ask, “How can you laugh about those ‘differences’ when they actually caused so much suffering and pain?” That’s a good question. And aside from the point that by then we will know what the purpose of all the suffering was, there is another point, and it’s this.
Revelation 7:17 says that “….God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”. That means to me that everything – yes, everything – that has ever hurt, upset, damaged, crippled you, will be made to be as if it had never happened. All the hurt, all the suffering, will be healed. We will remember things, sure, but the pain will be gone. There will be no more suffering, no more crying (Revelation 21:4); at least not tears of sorrow. Every time you have lost a loved one – human or animal – every hurt you ever had: emotional, physical, spiritual – everything will be made right and the pain will be gone.
So that means that when we lean on each other to laugh, we will be aware that although we may have hurt each other by our attitudes, the pain will not last into Heaven and spoil it. It will by then appear to be petty and indeed somewhat funny. By the Grace of God, it will.
So, those with whom I do not always agree – I look forward to laughing with you!