Life At Its Best: Heaven is a real place
By Jim Graff
Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.
The concept of Heaven can be a hard one to grasp. Golden streets, pearly gates and years of feasting can seem a little far-fetched.
But the truth is that Heaven is just as real as any earthly place.
God sent Jesus at Christmas so we can have joy for today and concrete hope for tomorrow.
Sometimes, you don't stop to think about Heaven's reality until you're met with a reason to ponder it. This happened to me several years ago, when some of my closest friends got news that their 17-year-old son was killed in a car accident.
I'll never forget the sound of their cries over the phone that morning. Never had I heard such pain-filled grieving. On the way to their house, I searched for words of encouragement, but even the best words sounded too cliche to help relieve such real pain.
Several days later, we saw them again at the funeral. We were amazed as we watched them throughout the ceremony. They were so strong, so peaceful.
We went to see them afterward and complimented them on their strength.
Then, they said something I'll never forget. They said, "It's still hard, and it's going to be for awhile. But we've found hope in knowing that he's not in our past; he's in our future."
What a comforting thought. Because of Heaven, death didn't have to be goodbye forever. Their confidence in Heaven allowed them to live with joy while on earth.
That's what God wants for each of us. If you've ever lost a loved one, you know the pain it brings. It's not an easy thing to bear.
Thankfully, though, death doesn't mean permanent separation. Because of Heaven, we have the opportunity to be reunited with those we've lost.
Our sadness doesn't have to last forever. Like my friends, we can live with hope in the fact that they're not a part of our past. They're a part of our future.
In His Word, God gives us several truths about Heaven that help us live with hope in the midst of loss. First, He assures us that it's a real, tangible place. The book of Revelation even describes the width, length, and depth of Heaven.
To give us further confidence, Jesus himself tells us of Heaven's reality. In John 14:2 He says, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you." If Jesus said it, we can be confident it's real.
Then, not only is it a real place, but it's also a right place. It's a place free from physical, relational or emotional pain. Revelation 21:4 says, "There'll be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." I don't know about you, but that gets me excited for what's ahead! And not only that, but it also gives me peace for today.
Losing someone we love is tough. But aren't you glad that we don't have to live in sorrow forever? Instead, we can live with joy today, knowing that we will see them again.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.