There’s a time when you begin to realize that this life is terminal… it’s actually going to end. This realization might happen when you experience a serious illness, or the death of a loved one, or when you just get older and know that you’ve lived most of your expected life. (in 2019, the average life span for a white male in the U.S. was 78.87). So at 74, I’ve lived 94% of my life and have about 5 years left. Now I have a number of friends who have live thru their 80’s and into their 90’s… so it could be longer.
Regardless, life is terminal and it makes sense to prepare for the big moment. The practical things are pretty straight forward…get your will in order, prepare for probable health challenges, maybe work on your “bucket list”. However, the biggest and most important issue is “what’s next”. What will hit me when I breath my last… what’s in store for me when I die? Hmmmmmmm.
According to a 2014 Pew Research Study, “roughly seven-in-ten (72%) Americans say they believe in heaven — defined as a place “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” But at the same time, 58% of U.S. adults also believe in hell — a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.” And a pretty good chunk of people say there is “nothing after death”, ie.…”nothing…zippo”… you end up as dirt”.
Well, I do find it fascinating that most of us just don’t want to think about it. My mother used to say, “oh don’t bring that up..”. If I don’t think about it, then it’s not real. I admit it’s pretty sobering and sometimes I don’t want to think about it… but still I keep getting older and friends keep dying….hmmmmm. We should at least spend as much study and prayer trying to find some truth about life after death as we do about buying the best car or house or taking the best job….
As a Christian, I have a relationship with Jesus. Thru the gift of faith, I’ve come to know him…I’ve come to ask and receive forgiveness for my sins…I’ve come to believe in his promises. One of his greatest promises is that at our death, he will bring us to his home in heaven. The scripture says some great things about what heaven will be like…” no more tears or sickness or sorrow or death… no eye has seen or ear heard or mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” But, we need to end this life as a friend of Jesus.
I was just reading a few passages from the book of Revelations that further describe heaven…while somewhat mysterious, they sound pretty exciting and pretty wonderful. Listen to this.. ”to the victor, I will give you the right to eat from the tree of life, I will give you a new name which no one knows, I will give you authority over nations… you will be dressed in white and I will never erase your name from the book of life but will acknowledge your name in the presence of my Father and the angels… I will give you the right to sit with me on my throne…”(Rev. 2:7-3:21) While this is somewhat puzzling or even inconceivable to a 21st century American, you have to admit that “it really sounds like something”.
What’s also true is that the reality of heaven doesn’t depend on the results of opinion polls. A person may or may not agree with any of this….some may say, you don’t know if that’s true or not…you didn’t die and go to heaven. Yes, I agree, but we’re all going to find out at death and it behooves each of us to do our best to try and find out now. There are no spectators in this life. We all must ultimately choose. I remember the old quiz show, “Let’s make a deal”. The contestant had to ultimately choose door #1 or door #2, …. one door had a million dollars and the other door had a bag of chicken feathers.
Gee, I really don’t want the chicken feathers. I want to be with the Lord, who I love, in heaven one day, and I want all my friends and loved ones and family, and many others to be with me.
So let’s do our best to live this life for Christ…to know love and serve him.. to receive his mercy and forgiveness for our sins… to proclaim him as our Lord who calls the shots. He will give us a wonderful life on this earth and one day eternal life in heaven. It’s really a good deal.
And if you don’t know him, it may be a good time to get introduced. I would be happy to make the introduction.