And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:3-4
Often times when people speak of heaven they talk much of the streets of gold, the mansions, and the absence of sickness, pain, and tears. And all this for good reason; those are all things to be hoped for. But those things, as good as they are, are not the reason why Heaven is Heaven. To say it shortly: Heaven is good because God is there. The central and greatest treasure of Heaven is the God who dwells there in the fullness of His glory.
To illustrate this, the old evangelist D.L. Moody was fond of telling this story.
I heard of a child whose mother was very sick; and while she lay very low, one of the neighbors took the child away to stay with her until the mother should be well again. But instead of getting better, the mother died; and they thought they would not take the child home until the funeral was all over; and would never tell her about her mother being dead. So a while afterward they brought the little girl home. First she went in the sitting-room to find her mother; then she went to the parlor to find her mother there; and she went from one end of the house to the other and could not find her. At last she said, “Where is my mamma?” And when they told her her mamma was gone, the little thing wanted to go back to the neighbor’s house again. Home had lost its attractive to her since her mother was not there any long. No; it’s not the jasper walls and the pearly gates that make heaven attractive. It is the being with God. We shall be in the presence of the Redeemer; we shall be forever with the Lord. (Taken from Heaven by D.L. Moody).
The Bride eyes not her dress, but her dear Groom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He gives me, but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.
As Milton Vincent puts it, “Yes, there is a street of gold in heaven, but is there any doubt where the street leads? Unquestionably, it leads straight to the throne of God Himself, as do all God’s gifts to me in the gospel.” The good news of the gospel is that it brings us to live eternally with the God of the gospel. Heaven would be hell without Him.