Monday, October 27, 2014

Heaven – and Underwear

Thinking about the prospects of Heaven, what would you expect?

From time to time, many of us ponder the transient nature of this life and wonder about what looms beyond it. Two questions recur: “Is there really a Heaven?” and, “If there is a Heaven, what’s it like?”

Recently a number of authors have attempted to address that question, ranging from Todd Burpo’s Heaven Is for Real to Dr. Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife to Randy Alcorn’s hefty (560 pages) but simply titled, Heaven.

These and other books offer perspectives and possible scenarios, but none can offer authoritative, indisputable proof. Personal experience accounts, like those of Burpo and Alexander, are intriguing, and Alcorn presents a thorough exploration of what the Bible says about Heaven and heavenly life. And these writings are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s been compiled through the centuries.

Many of these books can be helpful, but chances are, much of what’s in store for us in the next life surpasses our human capacity to comprehend. Nevertheless, practical questions about the reality of Heaven persist.

For instance, a while back I heard a true story about a father having a casual chat with his little daughter. Unexpectedly her face took on a quizzical look, and she asked, “Daddy, in Heaven what kind of underwear would we wear?”

That’s probably a question you haven’t wondered about lately. At least not much. But that doesn’t mean it’s not valid. Will it be Fruit of the Loom? Hanes? Will Victoria’s Secret retain its secrecy in Heaven?

I really have no idea how the father responded, but it seems to me if there’s a need for underwear at all in Heaven, it certainly would be holy underwear. Right? (If that’s the case, some people already have a head start!)

The book of Job offers a clue we might not expect. After Job learned about a series of personal calamities, we’re told he tore his robe and shaved his head to demonstrate the intensity of his grief. Then he declared, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart” (Job 1:21). I’m not sure, but maybe that’s an indication that Heaven will be clothing-optional. Perhaps the born-again will just wear their birthday suits.

Of course, as pressing as it is, the “underwear in Heaven” issue is dwarfed by other matters, such as what will it look like? What will we do there? Will we recognize family members and friends?

Those are interesting questions, but I’m content with the assurance Jesus gave His followers shortly before His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. He told them, “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

The King James Version states “many mansions,” but when we get there I don’t think we’ll be expecting the equivalent of one of the Vanderbilt mansions or one of those stately residences in the Hamptons. Just a simple place, even a pup tent, will be okay for me.

Because, as someone observed many years ago, when we get to Heaven we’ll probably be surprised by three things: Who is there; who isn’t there; and – when we see the Lord in all His glory – that He has graciously allowed us to be there. Underwear, or not.

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