God with us

I’ve married dozens of times.

Now, I’m still happily married to Jana, my lovely bride of 44 years. What I mean is that I’ve officiated at dozens of weddings.

As a minister, I get to stand at the end of a long church aisle as the bride enters, overflowing with love and excitement and promise. Every bride is stunningly beautiful; as close to perfection as it gets in this life.

I glance to my left, at the groom who’s about to lose it. He’s overflowing too, trembling, tears in his eyes. Most men only get to see this once, but since officiating at weddings is in my job description, I get to see it again and again. It never gets old.

This is the image the Bible gives us for what our ultimate future will be like.

Most people are stuck with an image of heaven as some kind of disembodied existence, where we wear white robes and float on clouds. But the Bible’s image is of a city, as beautiful as any bride, coming down out of heaven to be joined to earth. This means that in our ultimate future, we will somehow be more real than we are now.

And heaven is here, not on some cloud.

How will this be? Revelation 21:4 says that “God has come to dwell with humans.” When Jesus comes again to live with us once and for all, all those parts of us that were damaged in the fall, when the first husband and wife sinned, will be restored. Imagine the beauty and joy and perfection of a bride and groom, but multiplied by ten or a hundred or a thousand or more. That will be us, all of us.

That’s the promise of God with us.

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