Over the last year or so I have learned a little bit about heaven from, of all places, facebook. I know that seems a little odd....but then God has a habit of showing up and teaching us lessons in strangest of places.
He showed Himself to Issac in a dream, and even wrestled with him. For Moses, God showed Himself in a burning bush. Daniel found the peace and protection of the Lord in the lions den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found him in the middle of an extremely hot spot in their lives. For Matthew, God showed up while he was at work, extorting money from his fellow citizens. Saul ran head first into God on the road to Damascus while he was going to throw followers of The Way (Jesus) into prison. John got a very special view of God while exiled on the isle of Patmos.
So...for me, God shows up on facebook. And He taught me about heaven.
Ok, let me explain myself.
Over the last year or so on facebook I have gotten reaquainted with many former classmates from my high school (Hanford High, Class of 1975, with an undefeated footbal team-yes, I still remember that-went to every game that year-even the away games-the last minute win against Visalia is one I still remember 35 years later!).
Some of those from my high school were friends of mine, some were people I kinda knew, and others were part of the "poplular" crowd, of which, I was never allowed admittance too. I'm not complaining here, that's just the way high scool is. I had a lot of friends that belonged to my social order / group: the mid-level popular group.
As I have "friended" and been "friended" by people I went to high school with one of the first things I began to notice is that the high school order of things no longer exists. I have become friends now with some who NEVER talked to me at school (again, this is not a complaint, just the facts, and to be honest, the social / popularity order is kept by both sides - in other words, I never talked to the popular kids either). In fact when I sent a message to one person who was part of the popular crowd, I wasn't sure if they would even know who I was, and I described myself as "kind of a dork" back then. The replied back, "Yes I remember you, and we were all dorks back then." The popular kids thought they were dorks too? Wow. What a revelation that was.
On top of the newfound friendships with all types of people I went to school with, I found that many of them have now put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In fact, one person that I barely knew in high school, Bob Craine, I had the honor of having worshiping with him and his wife and going to lunch with them after church services! As Bob and Jeannie shared where they have been and their journey of faith with the Lord, I felt as if I was having a meal with the Holy Spirit Himself! The love of Jesus just overflowed from these two people. As we left, I told my wife that although I barely knew Bob in high school, that after worshipping with him and sharing a meal with him, I felt as if I have known him all of my life. My wife responded, "It's the Jesus factor."
The Jesus factor.
Yep. That's it all right.
Now here is how God showed up and taught me about heaven through facebook.
You see, at the foot of the cross we are all equal. Rich, poor, medium income, black, white, red, yellow, northern, southern, democrat, republican, independent, and on and on.
Just as there seems to no longer be any popular social order left over from high school, so there will be no popular order in heaven. No one will feel left out. No one will feel like a dork, a nerd, a geek, or whatever other word they used these days to describe those that are not part of the "in" crowd.
Just as I have found many from high school to be followers of Jesus now, in heaven I will get reaquainted with many who did not know the Lord when I knew them, but together we will worship the Lord around His throne.
And, in addition to those from my past that I have met on facebook, I have alos had the pleasure of "meeting" and becoming friends with many, many people across the world who call themselves followers of the Son of God, of Jesus, of the one who gave His live for us. Some of these people I have prayed with, and they have prayed with me. Some I have met face to face as they have visited the church that I pastor. Others, I will never meet here, but will await the joyous homecoming one day and live with them forever in heaven, and one day on the new earth. And as I have found myself drawn into their lives here, it makes me realize how many new people I will meet one day that I have never known. People who have gone before me and kept the faith an fought the good fight and sacrificed so that I might have the opportunity to hear the gospel and come to know Jesus as my savior.
Speaking of those who have gone on to be with Jesus in glory, Revelation 5:9 says, "And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."
If the Bible were being written today, John might have written it this way: "...and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and nation and popular and unpopular social order, and from people on facebook all over the world."
Thank you Jesus. Thank you for life. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for the many, many blessings that you have given me over the years, and yes, that includes facebook.
Ok, so there's that.