james ray johnson

I taught the Bible to a group of sweet little older ladies.  One was somewhat “littler” than the others and it was apparent.  I sat taller than she stood.

She said she had been a church organist.  Wow!  A pipe organist must reach 2 different stacked keyboards with her hands, and then her feet must reach down to their own oversized keyboard.  I bet she had stretch marks.

We were considering the future and the new heaven-fit bodies that we will be given.   She interrupted with an odd question, “I have often wondered – will we be taller when we are in heaven?”   

She used the word “we,” but I am pretty sure she meant “I.”  She must have endured a lot of teasing through the years and had decided that her short stature was a liability. 

“Will we be taller in heaven?”  That might come in handy if there is a pick-up game of basketball.   Ah, but Michael Jordan will be 12 feet tall if that were true.

I had never thought about heavenly heights, so we jumped back into the study.  But I continued to think on her question because I have my own liabilities – I hate it when I don’t have an answer. 

My mind carried me back to the biblical character Zacchaeus.  According to the children’s song “Zacchaeus was a wee little man.”   Children can be so cruel. 

However, he may not have been the shortest man in the Bible.  Some argue that the award goes to Knee-high-miah (Nehemiah 1:1).  Others say it was Bildad the Shu-hite. (Job 8:1) Still others say it was Peter who slept on his watch.  (Mark 14:37 KJV)

Jesus was passing through Jericho.  Zacchaeus wanted to get a glimpse of Him but couldn’t see through the throng.  So, he climbed a tree and perched himself on a branch. 

From his lofty seat, he saw Jesus, but more importantly, Jesus saw him.  He told him to come down because He wanted to spend time with him

Zacchaeus was overjoyed.  Most would look over and beyond him, but Jesus looked at him and saw him.   He scampered down the tree and eventually into the Kingdom of God because of His faith response to Jesus.

I asked my friend, “So what about Zacchaeus?  Do you suppose that he wanted to be taller when he got to heaven?” 

She paused and finally said, “Probably not?”  “Why” I asked.  She said, “If he had not been short, he wouldn’t have climbed the tree and perhaps would have never been seen by Jesus?”   

Exactly!  I suspect, in fact, that Zacchaeus wears his short stature as a badge of honor in heaven today. 

So, what is your question?  “When I get to heaven will I be skinnier, more attractive, maybe more coordinated?  Will I be smarter, will my nose be smaller and my lips bigger?   Will I be able to run faster or eat slower?  Will I have more hair on my head and less in my ears?

True confession!   I looked forward to growing older knowing that my complexion would eventually clear.  I am 66 and still waiting.  Maybe heaven will clear that up. 

Here’s the thing, the Scripture tells us that God deliberately and carefully crafted us while we were in the womb – just the way we are.   King David wrote, “Certainly, you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139:13.  -NET Bible®.

There is no promise that each of us will be perfectly made, at least in the way that we measure one another and yet David, in the very next verse wrote, “I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing.”

David may have had big ears and eczema, but he still regarded himself as an awesome creation of God.

I suspect that if we were perfect or close to it, then we would not sense our need for God.  Our weaknesses and imperfections generate a longing in us for a God who loves us anyway and is able to compensate for our weaknesses.    

The apostle Paul had a problem.  Some suspect it was poor eyesight.  He pleaded with God to fix it, but the Lord said, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9a -NET Bible®)  In other words, “Paul, I am allowing you to have this issue, because it compels you to seek me, and to find the grace and power you need to manage.”

Paul replied, “So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.” (12:9b)

I guess height can be measured in more than one way.  I suspect that one day I will meet two people in heaven who stand quite tall – Zacchaeus and my little lady friend.    I hope to stand beside them (possibly with a clear complexion.)