On June 23, 2018, my father died. He was 89 years old.
I helped care for him the month of June in between working at a nearby school. June came and went – hard to believe.
The days seemed long but looking back, everything happened so quickly.
And now, reality sets in. He’s gone.
This prompted me to re-read a book I read 13 years ago, Imagine Heaven.
The reason I chose this book is because the author, John Burke, spent over 30 years researching the topic of near-death experiences from all kinds of people and all kinds of religions along with what the Bible has to say about Heaven.
It got me thinking about how little I have heard about Heaven. I’ve been in church for over 30 years and I do not recall a sermon or teaching. Is it because the Bible has little to say about it? Maybe. But since it is our forever home, I would think God would want us to know something about it.
Because to live well here, don’t we have to know something about life there?
One common thread with those Burke read about and interviewed, was the intensity of love the departed individual experienced. With their life displayed in a kind of panoramic view, the good, bad, and ugly – the love was still intense – no matter what. No shame, no guilt, no condemnation. Just love.
Granted, this is difficult for us to grasp but so is the enormity of the universe. Yet, we believe.
*Side note: all to often in Christian circles, morality seems to have replaced the love of God. Usually, Christians lean to one or the other. God does not condone sin, but his way of drawing us is with “chords of love.” Holding morality, Christian values, and/or character up as the standard is missing the point. Time and time again, God has chosen men and women in the Bible who would not meet the criteria in conservative, traditional, Christian thought. Are we holding the Law up to the world of morality? Or are we holding up the Light of the world?
Each day, I watched my father dying. Death is ugly. And if God is good, and if Newton’s 3rd law is true, then there has to be something far greater in power than death.
We have all seen the beauty around us. It is only a foretaste of what is waiting for us.
Have you lost a loved one? Are you hurting? Suffering? Live with the hope and confidence of Heaven.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
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