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Countless times someone has said to me, "You'll be able to see in Heaven."  This is likely true, but I want to explore another possibility.  

Suppose in Heaven some of us are left with the disabilities or deformities we were born with or acquired during our earthly pilgrimage.  Heresy!  Wait.  Stay with me.  When Jesus rose from the dead with His new resurrection body, he continued to bear the marks of His humiliation.  Far from placing Jesus in a contemptible situation, the marks in His hands and side were the evidence He offered to Thomas that it had been He and none other that had risen from the dead. To inhabit a resurrection body that contained brutal reminders of His shameful death on the cross made it possible for Jesus to condescend to His heart-broken and doubting disciples in a fresh way, in a way He could not have had He inhabited a body free from all taint of contact with shame and death.  

Remembering that my proposal is hypothetical, why couldn't God freely choose to allow some of His creatures to continue to bear with their disabilities or deformities for all eternity if in fact those disabilities and/or deformities were the instruments of bringing about greater goods during their lives?  Put another way: if those who are called upon to endure their disabilities and/or deformities do so and come to see their lives as complete in spite of their physical losses,  would the restoration of their physical losses make Heaven better for them than it would be otherwise?  

Speculation aside, I suspect that in glory, saints who have endured the loss of sight or hearing or who have suffered the amputation of limbs etc. will rejoice in being healed and fully restored. After all, during the time of Christ's earthly ministry, healing the sick was one of the signs pointing to his authentic Messiahship.  I do not want to be misconstrued as saying that in fact I am the kind of person who has learned to have a complete life by never raising questions to myself or others about what having sight would be like.  I've never looked in a mirror, and I have never seen my wife's face.  Yes, I would love to know for myself what we look like.  Saying that I have light brown hair tells a sighted person more than it tells me since I have no sensory information to register brown when it is in front of me.  

In the long run though, without wishing to sound self-righteous or judgmental of others who may feel differently about this, I try not to spend too much time worrying over what I don't have in terms of being blind.  When it comes to Heaven, my deepest longing is not for sight.  It is rather for moral and spiritual wholeness.  I long for a time when what I say and sing in praise of God is never contradicted by my intentionally or unintentionally unkind words to others.  We are told in the last book of the Bible that one day, we shall see His (God's) face.  IN seeing Him, we shall be like Him.  What glorious news!  This means that I will never again have to ask for forgiveness for impure motivations, motivations that stem from a desire to promote myself rather than promote the honor and glory of God.  Indeed, the phrase "the glory of God" will no longer be on my lips as a cover-up for the fact that the person whose glory I am really seeking all too often is my own.  

When it comes to my relationships with other human beings, I long for Heaven where I will finally never have to second guess the motivations of my brothers and sisters in their actions toward me.  I'll never have to wonder why I was not invited to the latest party, why I was passed up for a possible job offer, and on and on ad nauseam.  In short, Heaven is the place where I will no longer have to say with Anselm: "I was heading for God but stumbled over myself" (Proslogion, chapter 1). [Anselm, monologion and Proslogion: with the Replies of Gaunilo and Anselm, trans. Thomas Williams, Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett, 1995), 98. - editor]

Blind or sighted, the longing for God that does not destroy but puts our selves within proper relations to God and others is the heartbeat of sanctification.  Blind or sighted, to greater or lesser degrees, this longing is what forms much of genuine Christian fellowship.  Blind or sighted, concentration on such mutually shared longings will go a long way to enabling us to focus on what is central and treat as peripheral what from the perspective of eternity is.

Cody Dolinsek is working towards a PhD with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth TX. Be sure to also read Cody here and here.

Posted July 9, 2014 @ 3:42 PM by Guest blogger

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