Anybody see a movie back in the late 90’s called “The Truman Show?” The true man of the movie had been the unwitting star of a reality show for his entire life. He had lived in a dome the size of a small city, which served as the set of the show. He was surrounded by hidden cameras all the time. His entire life was manipulated by the show’s producer. Everyone Truman knew was really an actor. The world loved Truman; his show was the most popular on television. The only person who didn’t know that Truman was a reality-t.v. star was…Truman himself.
In order to keep Truman from wanting to travel beyond the confines of the dome, the producer had managed to train him to fear the unknown and prefer the comforts of his day-to-day life.
But as Truman grew older, his desire to know more about the world became increasingly intense. He commandeered a boat on the shore of the staged ocean, and he sailed into the unknown. Truman managed to reach the outer wall of the concrete dome in which he had lived his whole life. The prow of the boat crashed into the cinder blocks that were painted to look like the horizon. Then Truman found a hidden emergency exit door in the wall that he had always thought was the sky. The producer got on a microphone, trying to convince Truman not to walk out the door. But Truman would not be stopped. He stepped through the dark threshold into the outside world that he had never known.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” the Lord Jesus says to us. “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself.”
We Christians hope for things unseen. A Christian must freely admit: Indeed, I know nothing about what heaven is like. I admit that my entire life—all the eggs in my basket—all of it is staked on the Jewish carpenter’s promise. He promises a paradise which I cannot see, and I prefer the paradise promised by Christ to anything that I can see or even imagine.
Are we Christians crazy? Is our hope a fantasy? One of the last things the producer said to Truman to try to keep him from leaving the set was: “There is no more truth out there than there is in here.”
Don’t we have to do battle with similar seductions? Is the best we can hope for really whatever air-conditioned, surround-sound, creamy smooth comfort we can find in this world?
No, we are by no means crazy to stand on the promises of Christ. The crazy thing would be to stand on the shifting quicksand of anything else. Three facts vindicate the Christian’s hope for heaven.
1. If we aren’t going to trust Jesus of Nazareth, then who are we going to trust? Christ’s promises about His own triumph over death were vindicated, and the fact of Christ’s resurrection is as well-attested as any other event of ancient times. Don’t believe Christ rose from the dead? Then why would you believe that there were pharaohs in Egypt or men named Socrates and Plato in Greece? There is just as much historical evidence for Christ’s resurrection as there is for these other facts.
2. The pleasures that this world offers are not all they are cracked up to be anyway. No matter how enjoyable something is, the downside inevitably comes.
Yes, Dairy Queen Blizzards are heavenly. But too many of them can make a person kind of sluggish. Lying on the beach is wonderfully relaxing. But what about the sunburn and the glare? Watching Derrick Rose play with unselfish brilliance is a delight. But then you have to contend with LeBron James dominating a quarter. You fall in love and get married, thinking that living with this Adonis or this Venus will be heaven on earth. But then…I won’t go there.
3. We are all going to die in the end anyway. Oh, Father. Gee. So morbid. But look: If ever there were a true Christian, it was Francis of Assisi, right? St. Francis meditated on his own death every day. Death became his friend and companion. And the inevitability of death is a fact in our favor:
The seductions of the world can come our way, trying to get us to stay away from the door into the great unknown. The world says, “Look, just sit in this armchair and drink this frappacino and watch this Johnny Depp movie, and forget about the heavenly mansion promised you by the Galilean rabbi.” Yes, such seductions can come. But we can rebuke them with a simple fact: “Friend, when I die, and I can’t get to Starbucks, and the only easy chair I will have will be an embalming table, what will you comfort me with then?”
No, we Christians are not crazy. We walk through the dark door of faith and hope in Christ and His promises. We freely admit we do not know what lies on the other side of the door. We do not need to know. The Lord has promised us that it will be wonderful.