Is Heaven a real place? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” Genesis 1:1 “And God called the firmament Heaven” Genesis 1:8 It seems that since God chose these words to be his first must mean that they are of great importance. For some of us the uncertainty of an after life or heaven is unnerving. You’re not alone. I remember when I was a child in grade school I sometimes thought to myself, “where will I go when I die?” Silly as it may sound, I had a picture in my mind of coffins floating in space. It amazes me how that even as a young girl there was a sincere desire to “know.” The good news is that later as a young woman I received the answer to my childhood question: I came to learn about Jesus and what He did for us: Giving his own life for all mankind so that those of us who would choose to believe in him would have an eternal “home” when we leave this earth. In the following passage Jesus speaks words of comfort to the troubled, uncertain and fearful: “For God so Loved the world (humanity) that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him (Jesus) will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. Jesus refers to our “eternal” home as his “Fathers house” “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am…” John 14:1-4
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus he spoke to his disciples of his return to heaven, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into Heaven and sat on the right hand of God.” What’s comforting is that God is always “looking down from Heaven” Psalm 80:14, 102:19, and that our “help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2
Heaven is also referred to as a place of “Paradise” found in Luke 23:43 and also in 2Corinthians 12:4. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
So HOW do we get to Heaven? Remember the scripture above where Jesus references heaven as his “Father’s house” and that he has gone there to “prepare” a place for us? Well in the following scriptures he explains very clearly how we can live in this “Paradise” with him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE can come to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” As a young woman I remember reading these scriptures and after, I began to say the following prayer that would change my life forever! “The message is very close at hand: it is on your lips and in your heart“…”If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” As the scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 10:8-11 While sitting in my little sisters bedroom when no one was home I began to say a prayer that went something like this: “Father God I believe in you. I believe in your Son Jesus Christ, that He died for me and that you raised him from the dead. Forgive me of all I have done wrong, be my Lord and my Savior” and while I was praying, I felt what I would describe as a “blanket” of Love that came over me. I felt what I believe “heaven” feels like. I felt Peace. Jesus speaks of this Peace. He says that it cannot come from this world as we know it. His Peace can only come from God. The scriptures say that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.”
If you’re at a place in your life, searching, looking for answers, I encourage you to follow Jesus. Just as I mentioned earlier, he says that he is “the way, the truth and the life…” Take comfort in the amazing truth that God loves you! It does not matter what you’ve done or even what you’re involved in now, he is here for you now, he is waiting to hear from you. The Lord has given you the freedom to choose…. I encourage you today to make the best decision you’ll ever make: Choose “Jesus” and follow him knowing that when your life here on earth is through, you will be with your heavenly Father and His Son Jesus in heaven for eternity.