Heaven without Him is Hell

Another notable grave in the grounds of Tunstall Parish Church belongs to 'an American lady’ who fell in love with the Lune Valley, permanently moving here from the States. America is certainly not without its beauty, but she surely found Lonsdale to be greener than Arizona, warmer than Alaska, milder than Texas, hillier than Florida and safer than New York. She saw the place and fell in love.

Why does not God better advertise the glories of heaven? Why are the biblical descriptions so parsimonious, our understanding of it so sketchy? Why could we not pass around divinely sourced pictures of it with our tracts, appealing to the unbelievers’ desire for guaranteed future happiness? This is why: we Christians are going to heaven, not because we fell in love with it, nor because we shall enjoy the light shows or anticipate more agreeable neighbours. Rather, we long to go because He is there: the Lion of Judah, the Lily of the valleys, Emmanuel, Shiloh. It is His company we seek, His presence we crave. Heaven is only heavenly because He is there. Heaven without Him is hell, while hell with Him is paradise. If you desire Jesus, you get heaven thrown in. If you only seek heaven, you obtain neither.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Solomon 2:4

The American's love affair with Lancashire ended with her death. The Christian's enjoyment of heaven begins with death, but her love for Christ only grows from the intial conversion.