No Wishing for Elsewhere

The hymn “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be” isn’t one of my favorites from a stylistic standpoint, but I’ve long been struck by one particular line: “In heaven no drooping nor pining, no wishing for elsewhere to be.”

We all know what it’s like to be someplace and find ourselves wishing we were someplace else. Maybe it happens at school, or at the dentist, or at the DMV. (Hopefully it doesn’t happen at worship assemblies!) Worse, I’m afraid some folks waste half their lives wishing they could be elsewhere instead of making the best of where they are right now.

But can you imagine a place of such beauty that you never tire of its sights? A place of such joy that it never gets boring? A place so wonderful that you never again wish to be somewhere else? Well, although the Bible doesn’t give us a detailed description of heaven, it’s fair to say that it’s portrayed as that kind of place.

Some folks imagine heaven as a place where they can endlessly pursue their favorite pastimes—fishing, hunting, sports, music, macramé, tinkering with old cars. Maybe they figure that’s the only way they could keep from getting bored in eternity. But besides the fact that Scripture says nothing at all about such things, that seems a pretty selfish vision of heaven. Instead, the Bible emphasizes a condition of perfect fellowship with God and His saints, of resting in God’s provision and peace.

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it…and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:23-27).

“There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).

Indeed, why would we want to be anywhere else?