“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” [John 21:25]
I love reading. I think anyone who has followed this blog for a while has already noticed this. I also write a lot, not just because I have the gift of writing, but also because I read a lot. It’s only natural that the two habits go together. If there’s any word that describes a writer, it is that he or she is a reader. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of visiting places with lots of books. Good, biblical books for that matter (and other great mainstream books, too). From my pastor’s house, to the church library to my (future) publisher’s bookshop; a constant reaction in all these encounters with thousands of unread books has been, “So much to read, but so little time!”
Funny thing is, the overwhelming number of books to read has not left me frustrated, but encouraged. I am not disappointed that I will not be able to get through all those wonderful books and visit all those knowledge hubs in my lifetime. Instead, I am grateful. Grateful that I will never lack something to read. Grateful that I will never exhaust all the knowledge in this world. Grateful that reading will never get boring because reading is discovery, and discovery is always exciting. Reading is adventurous, and everybody likes a good adventure. I don’t ever have to worry about there being too little to read.
It is this train of thought that took my mind to heaven, and what that will be like. From Sunday School, I grew up with this picture of heaven as a place paved with gold and everybody dressed in white flowing robes. It was exciting at first, but this picture of heaven quickly became boring. Especially if you add the fact that we were to spend eternity standing around and singing hymns. That kind of heaven was bound to get bland and boring in no time. But as I grew older and studied the Bible much more discerningly, I realized that my childhood notions of heaven could not be further from the truth. Heaven is going to be the most exciting place ON EARTH!
And this is where books and reading come in. Genuine excitement, like all genuine emotion, begins with knowledge. There’s that feeling of enthusiasm and eagerness that lies at the brink of discovery of something new about the things we love. If God is your greatest delight, then heaven will not be boring for you. This is because every new day will bring with it new knowledge about God, His holiness, goodness, grace, power, providence, sovereignty…. and His Love. Not only will this knowledge be inexhaustible (since God is infinite), but it will also be perfect knowledge, a knowledge not obscured by sin or the curse of the fall. It is in heaven that we shall see Jesus as He truly is (1 John 3:2) That knowledge will be a knowledge that we can take in without sieving; an excitement that we can indulge in with unreserved, reckless abandon. In heaven, there will no longer be any danger of corruption, or exhaustion.
So, I keep reading. Yet, even with the excitement of all the books out there, I strive to read wisely. I do not waste my time reading books that promise me a best life now. I know that my best life will be in heaven, and I look out for books that point me heavenward.