This tweet from a pastor in France touched me deeply. He kindly gave us permission to use his words and the photo he posted of his son.
My son (9) is loving the logic of “Touchpoints: Heaven” by @randyalcorn (French translation): we can hear him from the other room reading the passage quoted, then the book’s conclusion, and saying, “That makes sense.”
It is so encouraging to hear from readers in other countries. Counting each of my books in each language as one book, I now have five times more books in other languages than in English. When I look at my books in other languages on the shelf, I sometimes marvel at how far God has taken them and what lasting impact there may be even in books which have gone out of print but will fall into someone’s hands at the right time and place in the providence of God.
This is true for all of us: we just won’t know how far our work has gone, by God’s grace, until we are with Him. I think we will be blown away by the stories we will hear from the people that we meet.
What languages will we speak in Heaven?
“They cried out in a loud voice.” (Revelation 7:10, NIV)
This singular “voice” implies a shared language. This could be a trade language, Heaven’s equivalent to Swahili or English, second languages that many know in addition to their native languages, allowing them to communicate. Or the common language could be our primary one. It may be a universal language God grants us without our having to learn it. If he wishes, God could allow us to understand all languages even if we can’t speak them.
“At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. . . . Then they said, ‘Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.’ But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.’” (Genesis 11:1, 4-7)
TheBabelaccount offers clues to the importance of shared language in an ideal society. God confused the language of the people and dispersed them, so their great city went unfinished. Notice that all people originally shared one language, which empowered them to cooperate together in great achievements. But because they were united in self-glorification rather than God-glorification, they embraced a false unity that would’ve empowered further rebellion and self-destruction. Because the people weren’t united around their God-designed purpose to rule the earth for his glory, God removed a source of their destructive unity and power—their shared language. Once mankind is made righteous and entrusted with stewarding the New Earth, God will likely restore a common language.
Laughter and Fun
Will we laugh in Heaven?
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:23, NIV)
Just as Jesus promises satisfaction as a reward in Heaven, he also promises laughter as a reward. Anticipating the laughter to come, Jesus says we should leap for joy now. Can you imagine someone leaping for joy in utter silence, without laughter? Take any group of rejoicing people, and what do you hear? Laughter. If God didn’t have a sense of humor, we as his image bearers wouldn’t. It is God’s gift to humanity, a gift that will be raised to new levels after our bodily resurrection.
“God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21)
The reward of those who mourn now will be laughter later. I’m convinced Christ will laugh with us, and his wit and fun-loving nature will be our greatest source of endless laughter.