I think a lot about heaven. Before September 2 I only thought about heaven once in while. It seemed really far away and really exciting, but it did not consume my thoughts. In the aftermath of my son’s death, I think about heaven daily. Hourly. Often momentarily.
As I ponder what scripture says about heaven I have settled on a few truths.
#1 – Heaven is a real place. On the night before he was crucified Jesus said in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Now that is something to look forward to. Jesus, the Creator of all the extraordinary things on this earth, is preparing a place for us in heaven where we will live for eternity. I can only imagine how remarkable heaven will be!
#2 – Heaven is going to be so much fun! Does that shock you? I think too many believers think that that heaven will be a place where we sit in a really long, boring church service for eternity. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The greatest adventures of our lives will be waiting for us when we arrive in heaven!
C.S. Lewis penned the pages of The Chronicles of Narnia and he used the following words to remind us to look forward to the heaven that awaits us. Lewis writes at the end of The Last Battle, “the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them, it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
It is true that we will spend eternity serving & worshipping God, and we will do it with our friends and family who know Jesus. I think mission trips give us a tiny glimpse of heaven. We get the luxury of spending a week or so serving God as a team somewhere in this amazing world. It is so much fun to connect with other believers around the world and share stories, laugh & talk about what Jesus has done in our lives. I have had the biggest belly laughs of my life on mission trips! We get away from the busy-ness of our regular lives and we have time to see a new part of the world, connect with friends, meet new friends, share stories and worship with abandon. Sounds a little bit like the heaven that awaits us.
#3 Heaven will follow a lifetime of hurts, suffering, disappointments and death, but none of these will travel with us to our eternal home.
Revelation 21:4 states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.
#4 Heaven requires advance preparation. Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” To enter heaven we must make a choice here on earth to choose Jesus. To believe Him to be the one and only God. Believe that he lived a perfect life and died on a cross as a substitution for the eternal separation from God that each of us deserves due to sin. To place our faith in His resurrection and believe that He is coming back for us.
It is that easy. Faith in this life ushers in eternity with God in the next life.
As I enjoy a week in Cambodia seeing old friends, connecting with new friends, and getting to be a small part of the work God is doing here, I will use this tiny glimpse of heaven to motivate me to tell others about what is ahead so they too will be on the Great Adventure that awaits each of us who puts our faith in Jesus.