Has anyone close to you passed away? If not you've been blessed but if so then I think you can relate to what I've gone through since Nana passed away in August. I've ALWAYS believed in Heaven but actually having someone go there made me question so many things. It made me realize how little I truly know about the place that I will be calling home for eternity!
I made it one of my (many) goals for 2010 to have a better understanding of Heaven and what it is like. To be honest, I was AFRAID OF HEAVEN! How silly is that?!? But so many things I heard about it made me nervous. I'd heard that when we die we don't actually go to Heaven, that our spirits wait in our bodies and we just kinda sleep until Jesus comes back then "the dead in Christ shall rise" and we will go to Heaven then. I'd heard that there is no marriage in Heaven. I'd heard that since there are "No tears in Heaven" that we cannot be sad so therefore we won't know each other. Because if we know each other then wouldn't we be sad to realize that many of the people we knew on Earth didn't make it to Heaven and were instead in Hell? I'd heard that Heaven is a place of constant singing, praying, and worshiping of God. That our bodies are no longer ours and that we are spirits with the Lord. I'd heard that we'll never see Earth again or know what is going on "down here." I'd heard that things we love on Earth will not be in Heaven and that our pets would never be there with us as they don't have souls (I've been teased plenty of times about my hopes that all dogs go to Heaven haha).
Zach has been raised a Christian and when I asked him about Heaven he didn't really know much either. His response was always that Heaven is going to be wonderful and amazing and A LOT better than the alternative. He'd say that he personally doesn't really care what Heaven is all about, he just knows he wants to get there. That's so inspiring that he's able to be excited to go somewhere that he doesn't even have a clue about! I guess I'm not as good as he is because I NEEDED answers! I'd lay in bed at night worrying myself to death (no pun intended!) thinking about Heaven and where Nana is and where I'll be someday and what will happen to all of us. Asking myself a thousand questions that I could never answer on my own.
Finally I went to our local Christian Bookstore and asked them about any books they had on the topic. They have gotten to know me pretty well in there but I still made sure to tell them that I'm VERY conservative and I ONLY wanted something based on GOD'S WORD!
They lead me to a book simply titled Heaven. It's by Randy Alcorn and they told me that it's the "go to" book on the topic. The quote on the cover of the book actually says "Other than the Bible itself this may well be the single most life-changing book you'll ever read." And when I was only 3 chapters into it I could honestly say that it was!!! It has been an INCREDIBLE book for me and my life. It has brought me better understand of God's plan and has given me an inner peace about my own eternal state.
I'm not going to give anything away. I'm not going to tell you what Heaven will be like. Or where Nana is right now. I'm not going to spoil it for you because I guarantee that if 1000 people read this post (or more likely 5 people haha) NONE of them would have a CLUE to the answers that this book holds. I promise you that he uses SCRIPTURE to back up all of his points and uses the BIBLE as his guide. It's not some story about someone dying and having a glimpse into Heaven. It's based on God's Word. Yes, Mr. Alcorn does have some opinion in there but he makes sure to tell you when it's his opinion, which I like.
Zach and I have discussed some of the things in this book and like he said, the guy may be wrong. Even if everything he says about Heaven isn't true, does it matter? What matters is I got my answers from the most reliable source I could find. I have grown so much spiritually thanks to this book. I feel closer to God. A more desperate DESIRE to live my life how HE wants me to live it so I can experience the joy of Heaven with Him. I feel pricked to tell others about Heaven and WARN them about HELL. I want EVERYONE I love to be in Heaven with me. I want to share it with you all!
This book will make you question yourself and where you will be spending eternity. Can you say you're going to be living forever with the Lord? Like Mr. Alcorn says, when we give people directions to a place we warn them about a sharp turn or a bad patch in the road that could cause them danger. But do we truly WARN people about an eternity in Hell? I know I don't do it NEARLY enough! So here's my warning: we WILL all die. There WILL be only two options after death. Are you 100% sure about where you'll end up?
Obviously, I hope everyone has a personal relationship with the Lord. I hope everyone reads the Bible as IT is God's Word. But I also hope that everyone reads this book. It WILL change your outlook on life and the after-life too!!!
I am not finished with the book yet (it's not a light read by any means) but I already have changed feelings about Heaven. I can truly say that I am EXCITED to be there! And that when my time comes to face death I will not be afraid the way I would have been 6 months ago. I'll face it happily knowing that I'll be meeting God soon! I no longer lay in bed at night tossing and turning with worry and I am at peace with Nana's death as I know and understand where she now is.
I actually just bought the book on cd for my Uncle Spear. He is a strong Christian man and I'm sure it'll bring him much joy to hear about the home he'll have someday. I wish I had millions of dollars so I could buy EVERYONE a copy of it!