Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heaven

With the recent passing of Joyce, our beloved Pastor's wife, Heaven has been on my mind a lot.
Joyce was an amazing person. She was a loving friend, a wise mentor, a brilliant writer, and a strong Christian. And she always looked forward to finally getting to Heaven. Even before she had cancer, she was constantly eager to discuss Heaven with anyone.
Joyce didn't speak of physical death as a dark, frightening or mournful experience. Rather, she focused on the spiritual side of death, which is really an extraordinary awakening into the awesome presence of God.
Joyce was blessed with many dreams and visions of Heaven. I'll never forget the following vision she shared one time:
A person in a dark room reached for the doorknob and turned it. When the door cracked, a wonderful, soft light began to filter in. Heaven was on the other side of the door.
Our life on earth is like the second it takes to reach out and grab the doorknob. Heaven is like entering a completely new room.
Many people today, even Christians, tend to focus entirely on this side of death. We try not to think about dying. When we do think about it, it's with dread, and so we live like it will never come.
But have you ever stopped to really consider what happens on the other side of death? Is death the end of life, or is it just another step we have to take so that we can enjoy life in all its fullness? Heaven is such an abstract thought for our human minds to grasp. But instead of being overwhelmed by the endless (literally) aspects of Heaven, think about the things we do know!
No more sadness! Can you imagine never having to cry again? Never again having your day spoiled by disappointment or heartbreak?
No more pain! Pain is something a lot of people are afraid of. Not in Heaven!
No more sickness! Imagine never having to take your temperature again - never having to worry about catching a virus - just enjoying life! Think about the people you love who are now plagued with sickness, whether it be a cold, the flu, cancer, even arthritis...When we get to Heaven, all of that will be gone! We'll be in perfect health!

No more fear!
We'll be reunited with old friends! We'll even meet new friends, and even make friends with people like Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, Esther.... (Whoa!)
We'll walk hand-in-hand with Jesus! Just think of what it will be like to run and sit in God's lap anytime!
I like to think that everything on earth that gives us joy and pleasure is just a sample, just a miniature, of what we'll experience in Heaven. For instance...What if roller coasters are just a smaller form of the thrill and excitement we'll be experiencing for eternity? What if eating candy is just an idea of what we'll be feasting on in Heaven? What if the love and friendship that we know on earth is just a foggy image of the unimaginable fulfillment we'll receive when we're in the presence of our Creator, our Father, our Savior, our King, our Friend...?
Now death doesn't seem so dreary after all. Maybe it's hard for us to fathom now. But maybe when the body we currently inhabit finally draws its last breath, our eyes will be unveiled, and the life we lived here will become the foggy dream, and our souls will be free to fly home.
If we'd take on this mindset, and see this life for what it really is - a fleeting second compared to eternity - perhaps we'd be happier. If we thought about Heaven more, we could focus more clearly on what really matters in the grand scheme of things. Petty annoyances that used to ruin our day wouldn't matter so much anymore. Serious choices, like taking the time to share the Gospel with someone, would. The choice you make, or don't make, to live for Christ in this life would matter greatly.
When I think of Joyce now, I don't think of a dead body. I don't think of a person that used to exist, who is now gone. Instead, I think of Joyce as healed of cancer forever. I think of her as dancing to her heart's content at the very throne of Christ! I see her joyfully walking the streets of gold, holding hands with her Savior...holding hands with Jesus.

Some bright morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away
I'll fly away oh glory
I'll fly away (in the morning)
When I die hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away
When the shadows of this life have gone
I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison bars has flown
I'll fly away
Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I'll fly away
-I'll Fly Away


....I’ll not fear when I pass through the valley,
Though encompassed by shadows of night,
For I know that beyond it is shining
An eternal and glorious light....
Shall we weep when we know the departed

With their toils and their cares now are done,
And the bliss of eternity’s ages
In the presence of God is begun?
-Beyond the Shadows

1 comment:

ctcpastor said...

Liberty,
Yes. You got it! Keep this perspective of Life for it will serve you well.