HEAVEN (Our Father, Word by Word)

May 8, 2011 | 6 comments

Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As it Is in Heaven…

by Jason Anderson

Heaven is where you want to be. I know it’s where I want to be. Whether you’re talking about hamburgers or mattresses or whatever, when you describe it with that word it always conjures the same image. It’s the ideal, the perfect, the most dearly desired. It’s where you want to be.

When someone refers to heaven, we understand the reference immediately, and we’re just lowly earth-dwellers. Imagine how much more it means when it’s coming from someone who actually has some experience with the place.

Jesus tosses off this reference to heaven like someone talking about his hometown, wishing things here were more like back in the old ‘hood. But He knows better than anyone the weight of the reference. In that phrase, He tells us not only something about heaven but also about the nature of He who runs the place.

Because we all know what heaven is, but what is it that makes heaven heaven? What is the fundamental difference between Jesus’ old ‘hood, and ours? Based on the compare/contrast Jesus offers here — “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” — there is one crucial distinction: in one place, God’s will is done; in the other place, it isn’t. And that makes all the difference.

On earth, God tolerates all manner of shenanigans from us — our whims, our viciousness, our selfishness. In short, our sin. In heaven, He tolerates no such thing. His will is done, fully and completely. His will, and no one else’s.

To earthly ears, that sounds like tyranny — the total, unquestioned rule by one over all. But in heaven, it’s… heaven.

Because that’s who God is. He is the perfect, the ideal, the most dearly desired. The fantasy that’s been planted in our heads by years of exposure to marketing about what makes something “heavenly”—the perfect turkey sandwich or the perfect relationship or the perfect life—that fantasy is a shadow cast through a foggy lens on a cloudy day. It can’t come close to the reality of God’s heaven. And it’s as real as stone. And in His perfected love, it’s what He wants to give us.

There is a gulf between our lives and our perfected lives, between where we are and where we should be. That gulf is exactly as wide as the distance between our will and God’s will for us. Where those two things are the same is the place we call heaven.

Jason Anderson is a Birmingham, Alabama web designer and deep, deep thinker (read “procrastinator”) who blogs about religion and culture at The Cynical Christian and anywhere else people will let him. He’s the husband of Rachel and proud father of an ultrasound image of a baby boy (three-dimensional boy coming in September).


  1. Teresa

    We have free will here on earth so Jesus tolerates our shenanigans or sins but before one enters heaven he renders judgment on our lives, as to whether we are in a state of grace and worthy to enter heaven.

  2. Hallie

    There is a gulf between our lives and our perfected lives, between where we are and where we should be. That gulf is exactly as wide as the distance between our will and God’s will for us. Where those two things are the same is the place we call heaven.

    Wow. I love that, Jason. What an excellent insight!

    • Kimberlie

      That’s the paragraph that got me too. I want so desperately to line my will up with God’s will. So often I seek God’s will but then when I hear what He asks, I say “Oh no, I don’t think I really want to do that. Thanks but no thanks.” However, choosing my own will doesn’t bring happiness, but sadness and a feeling of separation. In His will is really where I want to be and that really would feel like heaven.

    • Trisha Niermeyer Potter

      I love this paragraph as well! It’s certainly one of the biggest challenges of faith. Many years ago, I was inspired to write a prayer in my prayer journal that I honestly believe God has answered and granted. “Lord, place Your Will in my heart and make it my deepest desire and most fervent longing.” That coupled with: “You, Lord, are ALL I have, and You give me ALL I need. My future is in Your hands. Lord, I pray for Your Will. Amen” have proven to be very effective. It is indeed heaven when we finally submit our will to His and get to the point at which we’re no longer holding anything back from Him. Praying for God’s Will is, in and of itself, a response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit drawing you closer to Him.

    • Kat Palmer

      I love this post! Sometimes I wonder what comes after this life too which is why I pray the rosary everyday and go to mass every week. Thanks for this!

  3. bikes europe

    Heaven is a place on earth where my family and good friends are. Heaven is where we are happy to be and to live our lifes not disturbed by evil people.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates