What if Heaven is for Real?

9:00 AMHeather

A few years ago, I read the book Heaven is For Real about a boy who experienced heaven during a surgery to save his life.  It was intriguing, to say the least.  An insight into the unseen.  The unbelievable.  I read it to our daughter, who was equally intrigued by the tangible evidence this young boy offered.  A movie is being released on April 16, based on the book.  And, I for one, will be going to see it.

Because here is the root question for every human being.  A question about life.  About purpose.  About what we are doing here on planet earth.  About what makes the world go around and what there is to live for.  What if heaven is for real?

It's a game changer.  To consider this question.  Whether or not you claim to believe in Jesus, you still must ask this question.  Because, truth is, you can read the Bible cover to cover, attend church your entire life, and do all the "right, Christian" things...and still not really be living as if heaven is for real.

Because if heaven is for real, it changes everything.  EVERYTHING.

This is what ran through my mind this morning as I read through John 14:1-14.  It made me think of two precious men whose journeys I've watched from afar for several months now.  I don't know these men.  I don't even know their wives.  But, I know their sisters-in-law.  And I've prayed for these families as these two men have been in the fight of their lives.  One, ravaged by a brain disease that took his life this week.  The other, still fighting against cancer, but able to articulate his thoughts and feelings in a way the other man was not able to do.

Let me tell you something.  I've never met him, but this man believes with every ounce of his being that heaven is the most real thing he's ever considered.  He's living out every last second of his life, writing letters of gratitude for the love and support.  Offering encouragement to others.  While he is dying.  HE is encouraging others.  Telling them that heaven IS for real.  And living as if this being true makes all the difference.  Because it allows him to look forward.  To not say good-bye, but rather, see you soon.  To consider, with great anticipation, a homecoming to his forever home and the welcoming arms of His Savior.  With joy.  Rather than a great despair you might expect from a dying man with a baby boy and a young wife.

It blows my mind.  I mean, I believe heaven is for real.  But, it's still more like a fairy tale in my mind that I think will come true than like a tangible place where I ultimately belong.  Where I was made to live.  Where the unseen reality exponentially outweighs the seen and passing struggles of this world.  It's like a mirage I'm reaching out to grasp.  And I want it to be so real to me that like this young man, I can taste the goodness to come.  Because I believe in it with absolute conviction.  

John 14:1-2 says:
Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God.  Trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.

In other words, when your hearts are so troubled, you have a choice to make.  Do I let my heart lead?  Do I drown under the waves, with absolutely no control?  Or do I call out and make a choice to believe God--to trust God--even there, in my trouble?  Do I choose to remember that even the worst threat I could face--the threat of death, be it my own or a loved one's--that even this threat only accomplishes bringing us home when we have chosen to follow Jesus?  

I am not saying we should never be troubled or grieve.  That is impossible.  Being left behind is a lonely and hard and difficult and nearly unbearable place to be.  Rather, what I'm saying is that in those dark pits, we have a choice to make.  Be led by the emotions and taken over by them and dwell always in the darkness.  Or cry out and choose to trust God and believe that heaven is for real so that we can grasp at even the tiniest of hopes.  So that we can ride the waves, wherever they take us, clinging to the hope of heaven. So that we can grieve with hope.  So that we can grieve forward.  

Asking God to help us in our unbelief so that the unseen becomes real.  So that the invisible becomes tangible. So that the grave is not the end.  But something more real, more wonderful, more amazing woos us to take one more step forward.  Struggling and falling and despairing.  Yet choosing to turn our eyes from the here and now to the there and then.

Choosing to believe that someday, we will be home.  Completely.  Like no home we've ever known.  Exactly where we belong.  Fully embraced.  Fully accepted.  Fully loved.

It's a game changer, alright.  No matter your circumstance or season of life.  If heaven is for real, then you will one day meet God face to face.  And it will be beyond any celebrity encounter or greatest thrill this world can offer.  This encounter should not be laced with threat of judgment.  But, with the idea that He is so real and His love is so grand that He wants that meeting to be a warm embrace where we hear the voice of God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Where we know we are there to stay because we chose to accept, not reject, the gift of Jesus and we chose to believe that He died to pay for all our sins.  And we pursued knowing him during our days on earth.

Where we hear the great cloud of witnesses cheering and yelling in a way that will put the rowdiest of sports fans to shame.  Where we are complete and perfect and every fear, every tear, every pain of earth melts away.  And we are overcome with a deep felt joy like never before.  Because this is what we were made for.  This is where we belong.  And we never have to leave.  And we can face Him, out of breath from running the race of our lives with every ounce of gusto we could muster.  When he offers us crowns of reward for living for him, we merely cast them at His feet.  Because its all for Him.  Every question is answered.  Every confusion disappears.  Every worst struggle and trial melts away into the glory that we experience.  

This is where we belong.  He set eternity in the hearts of all men.  He wants us to be with Him forever, not separated from Him. And if we dare to believe that heaven is for real, then we can use that as the knot at the end of our ropes with which to hang on.  We can mourn and grieve and dare to choose a hope that keeps us moving.  We can embrace being aliens on this earth.  And we can find the motivation to run our race, every day, with the knowledge that a finish line awaits.  With a feast and a love and a welcome we cannot even imagine.  And the celebration will never end.

No matter where you are in your journey, consider this question.  What if heaven is for real?  What if?

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