The glory of God and our joy weave together a bond that cannot be broken. We are made by our Creator to see, know, experience, and shine forth His glory. That is our purpose. And when we are living that purpose, our joy is full to overflowing. As we walk in love and obedience (which are really the same thing), the glory of God shines upon and into us and is likewise reflected back to its Luminary Source for all to see. This is beauty itself.
And yet, this joy-glory experienced here in our whisper of a life is nothing, nothing, compared to the glory that awaits in Heaven, in eternity. C. S. Lewis said it well in the Chronicles of Narnia when the children have been brought through a fatal train crash into the real Narnia that is to be their home forever.
Then Aslan [the Christ-like lion] turned to them and said:
“You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be ... all of you
are (as you used to call it in the Shadowlands) dead. The term is over;
the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
. . . We can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.
But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in
this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover
and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the
Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever:
in which every chapter is better than the one before. 1
Do we dare to live our lives this way? That all our days now are only the cover and title page to a tale we can hardly imagine? One yet to come?
Amy Plantinga Pauw captures it as follows:
Because “heaven is a progressive state,” the heavenly joy of the saints,
and even of the triune God, will forever continue to increase.... Saints
can look forward to an unending expansion of their knowledge and
love of God, as their capacities are stretched by what they receive ...
there is no intrinsic limit to their joy in heaven.... As the saints con-
tinue to increase in knowledge and love of God, God receives more and
more glory. This heavenly reciprocity will never cease, because the
glory God deserves is infinite, and the capacity of the saints to perceive
God’s glory and praise him for it is ever increasing. 2
Ah! What earthly trinkets can compare to such as this? Let us live now with this glory in view, beating in our hearts, animating our lives. Let us prepare now for the wonders we shall yet behold.
1 C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1964), 165.
2 Amy Plantinga Pauw, “The Supreme Harmony of All”: The Trinitarian Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002), 180-181.
Both as quoted in A God Entranced Vision of All Things, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2004), 93.