Will You Be Bored in Heaven?

I’ve heard the question, or something like it, many times: “What are we going to do for all that time? Aren’t we going to get bored in heaven?”

The great promise of the gospel is a new life in a restored relationship with God that will last for all eternity. And needless to say, we have a tough time wrapping our minds around that idea. In fact, from our present vantage point, we might even find it unappealing.

So are we doomed to drab, unending existence? What is it that we’re missing?

First, let’s think about what often comes to mind when we think about heaven. How many of us have associations with people floating above puffy clouds (perhaps with wings) in something that resembles either a toga or diaper? Or if not that, some kind of unending church service with an extremely large choir? Maybe a combination of the two?

If that’s the extent of what is involved in eternal life, then I’ll admit that I don’t find it all that appealing either. That said, I don’t think that’s a terribly accurate picture of the real thing. While it’s fair to say that the Bible offers only brief glimpses into what we can expect, those glimpses are packed with significance. So a few things to keep in mind when we think about eternal life:

  • Maybe the first thing we need to understand is that the using the term “heaven” can be a bit misleading. It’s fine as a shorthand way of speaking, but the Bible actually locates our eternal existence in a renewed heaven and earth (see Rom. 8:20-22; Rev. 21:1-4). Whether they’ll be puffy clouds in the sky I can’t say. But it looks as if eternal life will take place on a wonderfully restored earth.
  • Nor does the Bible seem to suggest that eternal is synonymous with idle, as if our biggest decision will be which couch to sit on. God called human beings to work before sin and brokenness entered the picture (Gen. 1:28, 2:15), and it appears that we’ll do the same after those things have been dealt with once and for all. Revelation 21:24-26 speaks of the “glory and honor of the nations” being brought into the city of God. Imagine work without frustration: productive, creative, meaningful, and unfailingly reflecting the glory of our own Creator. It will be work that will satisfy and spur our thankfulness. All our efforts will be a genuine “labor of love.”
  • Remember also that all the things that cause difficulty and frustrations in this present age will be gone (Rev. 21:4, 7:15-17): no sorrow or sickness, no want or hunger, no sin or death. Though almost impossible to imagine now, our contentment will be unbroken. There will be nothing to stop or even curb our joy.
  • Our experience of eternal life won’t be isolated, but in community with fellow believers that we’ve known and loved in this life. Paul specifically reassures the Thessalonian church that, upon Jesus’ return, we’ll be with him alongside our friends and relatives who are in Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
  • We shouldn’t miss the fact that the greatest aspect of our eternal life will be the fact that we’ll finally and fully experience our relationship with the Lord as we are meant to. And if this idea sounds less than thrilling, we’ve not really understood its promise. Whether we realize it or not, we were made specifically for Christ (Col. 1:16). By definition, our happiness and satisfaction can only be found in him and his glory. And in the age to come, we’ll finally have it without end. Imagine the genuine delight of a child when discovering something new and wonderful. Now imagine those discoveries never ending. We’ll never exhaust the depths of the perfections we’ve been created to enjoy: his love, beauty, knowledge, holiness, faithfulness, etc. That longing we’ve had for our entire live will be fulfilled. We’ll have joined “the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the first” (C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle).

A final word on why all of this is important. A true, biblical picture of eternal life with Jesus reminds us why it’s so precious. It reminds us, amidst all the difficulties and uncertainties of this present world, why we’ll never regret trusting in him. Quite simply, nothing else can possibly compare.

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