My idea of heaven has changed many times.
Just the other day, my daughter told me that she thinks heaven will be all puffy white clouds. When we are children, we think of heaven as flying, jumping, and sleeping on clouds. Heaven is the sky on a beautiful, perfect day, right?
Then as we get older, we insist that heaven must be a place where our pets will be, since we lost our best animal friend, and our only hope to see them again is in heaven. Heaven must be a place where my Siamese cat Shashi is waiting to greet me again.
As a teen, I feared that heaven would be an endless church service, a long religious song for all of eternity. We will be forced to sing and sing forever and ever, caught somewhere between the feathers and eyeballs of cherubim and seraphim. I remember my best friend and I admitting that if that’s what heaven was like, we didn’t really want to go.
Then, in college, I decided that in heaven I would be a professional ice skater.
After I settled down with Andy, matured a bit more, and studied the Bible, I realized that there is a mansion involved, and it will be humongous. It will be the best, most perfect house ever. And God’s people will be like a bride for the groom, just elated. Heaven will be better than anything I could ever imagine, which is why my former ideas of heaven as clouds, a lost pet retrieval, and endless hymn singing were so wrong.
Then we had kids, and when we held our sleeping babies, we said, “This is what heaven is like.” And when our babies were up at night, screaming inconsolably at 3:00 in the morning, we said, “God, just take me to heaven now.”
Sometime in the past few years, my idea of heaven changed again. I read through the whole Bible, and my idea of heaven became more like a new earth but without sin; more like life now, as we know it, but a perfect life. Every single creature will live in harmony, and the weather and terrain will resemble paradise … like Hawaii. Just remove all evil, sickness, disaster, and death from the world, and that will be heaven.
Then, as I was cleaning the bathroom one day, I thought to myself, “I would take the job of scrubbing behind all the toilets in the Lord’s house if it meant I could live with God.” Then suddenly, that became my urgent prayer. “Lord, please let me live with you in heaven. I will be the one to clean behind all the toilets.”
Finally, a week or two ago, a new prayer came to me. “Lord, every day since I’ve known you has been like heaven. Because I remember the days before I met you. I felt alone, terrified, weak, without hope, without a voice, without anyone to help me. But when you entered my heart and my life, you promised me you would never leave me. You have protected me ever since that day with your supernatural presence, and I’ve been free from fear and loneliness. I have known true love and I have experienced complete healing and restoration from everything that tried to destroy me. With you, Jesus, every day has been like heaven.”
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Heavenly Here With You, the sequel to the novel Goodnight to My Thoughts of You, is coming soon.
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What is your idea of heaven? Serious, funny, or bizarre comments are welcome, as always.
Thank you for reading!
*Photos courtesy of Shannon Renee Photography and Andy Rotunno