I haven't shared that for several months now, I've had the very special privilege to interview and write the accounts of people who have visited heaven. The series is available at guideposts.org.
While I never questioned the existence of heaven, working with these NDE'ers (near death experiencers), has profoundly deepened my faith, affirmed God's love, and revealed the unspeakably wonderful eternity that awaits us.
I've talked to each of these subjects for hours, and the way they describe their experiences, the humble elation and wonder in their voices, their certainty, penetrates my spirit. I just know it's all true. None of them wanted to come back.
While each account is different, they share some things in common: the overwhelming sense of love and peace unspeakable, the reality of Jesus, angels, indescribable beauty, seeing loved ones...and yes, the fact of hell and the need for repentance--as difficult as all that is to swallow for some.
One of the most striking aspects of this Covid crisis has been the rampant fear and its devastating effects, tearing through the world like a wildfire, holding people captive, leading to divisive rage that is just about destroying us. It may yet.
With Covid mortality rates now at roughly 1.5% worldwide
(https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html) this fear--and related havoc--is harder to justify. I admit I'm also personally troubled by the fact that many more millions of poor and marginalized people die of starvation each year and we can barely muster a peep of protest. (BTW, I'm a registered independent; my political party is Jesus Christ.) I'm not making statements on masks or vaccines, but rather, addressing what our response reveals about the condition of our hearts.
Were it only the faithless! God acknowledges we'll face fear this side of heaven, even while He compassionately admonishes against it over and over.
Fear of death is powerful, terminal, despairing indeed. If it were an end! But as believers, we must remember that this isn't our home. And we don't even have to taste death. Our spirits exit this broken place intact, immediately entering bliss.
I don't want to die. I'm really enjoying my life. I certainly don't want any loved ones to die either.
But as my truly heaven-bound friend said to me only last night, God knows the hour for our individual departures. It's set (Job 14:5). We cannot escape it. He awaits us, to embracing us in the arms of a love none of us can imagine.
Let's not let the fear of death overshadow the abundant life He died to gives us here.
Let's not be afraid. Let's hope in heaven.
Grace & peace,