When FOMO Matters

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him . . . ”—1 Corinthians 2:9

For a while, I kept hearing about FOMO, fear of missing out. (For the record, I was definitely missing out when it came to the meanings of our culture’s alphabet soup of acronyms.). Experts say FOMO—a major drive in social media—results in compulsive behavior, anxiety, loneliness and low self-esteem. But there is one time when FOMO can result in a good thing: when it causes you to fear missing out on heaven.

Most people like the idea of heaven. A 2015 Pew Research poll found 72 percent of Americans believe in heaven. But when you ask people whether they expect to go to heaven when they die, many will respond, “I hope so.” 

And it’s true that heaven is a hope. But don’t think of it in the same terms as earthly hope, as in, “I hope to see you there,” or “Let’s hope it stops raining before we get on the road.” Biblical hope is a confident expectation—a certainty toward which we ascend. You just have to know the way.

When the famous doubting apostle Thomas asked Jesus how to get there, Jesus replied, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). When we surrender our life to Him, He gives us eternal life in Him. And He is preparing a place for us, even now. But what will our eternal home be like?

Some people theorize heaven is a place where we sit on clouds playing the harp alongside angels for all eternity. So it’s no surprise those people don’t want any part of a heaven like that. Who would, unless you’re a harpist/meteorologist? But God’s word tells us it’s so much more. It is far beyond what any eye has seen, any ear has heard or any heart has imagined. Don’t even try to get your head around it. You can’t.

It is a haven reflecting the love, goodness, holiness, grace, generosity, beauty, creativity and infinite nature of our triune God. We will spend forever exploring and delighting in who He is, just as we will spend forever enjoying the place of perfect joy and peace He has prepared for us. There are no tears in heaven. There is no bitterness of spirit. There are no regrets, and there are no enemies. Instead we’ll experience bliss, awe and wonder.

I have seen some incredible sights in my six decades of life—miracles, births, natural wonders—and I have more than my share of imagination. But all these things are a shadow of the greater reality that awaits me. Nothing compares with what is coming. So it is with all whose hope is in heaven.

But for those who simply hope for heaven, it’s time for FOMO to kick in. But it doesn’t have to become a source of anxiety, depression or low self-esteem. Where the world offers you heartache, God offers grace, because He loves you so completely that you can’t even begin to count His thoughts of you (Psalm 139:17-18). Accept the perfect sacrifice Jesus offered to pay for your sins. In place of your anxiety, He offers you His peace. In place of depression, He offers you joy. To those with low self-esteem, He calls you His friend. And in place of earthly hope, He gives you eternal hope—FOMO no more.