This week, my family and I had the joy of visiting Disney World while on vacation in Orlando, FL. This is our fourth trip in recent years, and every time has been a magical experience.
There are aspects of Disney World that make me long for heaven. It’s not the expense (thankfully, our tickets were given to us as gifts this year) or the heat that we endure willingly while standing in long lines awaiting our next adventure. It’s actually something very positive that makes me particularly long for heaven on these trips.
What strikes me the most nearly every time I visit Disney is the incredible diversity that gathers together in one place for a shared experience.
With a ticket, everyone is welcome. Everyone is warmly received. The young and the old. Men and women. Boys and girls. The physically strong and the disabled. Children and adults of every age, every race, every nation, and every language are all invited to come and to enjoy. The appeal is universal and the reception is for all who will come. In that sense, it reminds me of heaven.
Heaven will be full of wonderful diversity. It will be an incredibly colorful place. There will be no cliques. No exclusivity (John 3:16). No partiality (Acts 10:34). No favoritism (Rom. 2:11). No crowds leaving other individuals on the outside-looking-in. Heaven’s gates are open-wide to any and all who will come through Jesus Christ (John 6:37-40). Jesus is the way and everyone is welcome who comes through him.
I love the way J.C. Ryle wrote about this in his book A Call To Prayer:
“There is a way by which anyone — however sinful and unworthy — may draw near to God the Father. Jesus Christ has opened that way by the sacrifice he made for us upon the cross. The holiness and justice of God need not frighten sinners and keep them back. Only let them cry to God in the name of Jesus, and they shall find God upon the throne of grace, willing and ready to hear. The name of Jesus is a never-failing passport for our prayers. In that name a person may draw near to God with boldness, and ask with confidence. God has engaged to hear him. Think of this. Is this not an encouragement?”
What encouragement this is! Anyone can come to God through Jesus. He is the passport. He is the ticket. He is the gate, and ALL are welcome to enter through him regardless of where they have been, what they have done, or where they are coming from.
Yes, heaven will be very diverse and very fascinating to us all. It will be filled with sinners saved by grace from every nation, tribe, and race who have come to God through Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. We will enjoy hearing all kinds of different dialects and differing stories about the same Savior who is mighty to save.
Revelation 5 gives us a vision for heaven’s diversity:
“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
This week, as I’ve beheld a great deal of diversity in Disney, I have been reminded that nothing can compare to the richness and variety we will encounter when we enter heaven’s gates. In the midst of a sea of unique faces and surrounded by the sounds of different dialects, I once again remember Jesus Christ and long for my final destiny where all voices will unite together in joy to sing his praise!