Yes, everyone, there is a “heaven.”
The Bible talks about heaven as a place that God has prepared for those who love him.
Jesus talked about heaven and gave clear directives on how one may gain eternal life and enter heaven.
In the Gospel of John 3:3, he spoke about being “born again,” and throughout the Gospels, Christ addresses himself as the “door” and the “light.”
He states that eternal life is found in our acceptance and belief in him as both Savior and Lord.
Christ came, suffered, died and rose again, providing our access to his kingdom.
Many of us have heard stories of people who have experienced a near-death encounter.
Some stories speak of walking toward the light and of entering through a door.
They talk of seeing angels and those who have gone on before them.
There is an expression of feeling warm and very peaceful.
The peace is so wonderful that some stories state the person is content to stay in that place, not returning to this earth.
With those who soon are leaving this earth, finding peace with God is not only a priority but offers them the comfort and assurance needed.
It is a journey made alone, in many ways.
God provides his presence and angelic help, but no one can go with us.
We are able to provide the “presence” of family and friends. However, the crossing is made by each one individually, one step at a time.
Yes, heaven is an actual place of existence and residence for God’s children; God is there, and his presence fills the heavenly span.
It is our eternal home, if we so choose.
Some are blessed to receive a second chance at life.
We can surmise, but God is the only one who knows why people are permitted to retain life.
There is a work for them to accomplish, or a time for them to fulfill first before leaving this earth.
“The hidden things remain with the Lord,” Scripture reminds us.
Some of the answers we seek will not be revealed on this side of heaven.
Personally, I find myself living life, looking toward retirement one day.
There is a realization that we all are heading to the other side.
Walking toward another phase of life, where once again change will take place.
We are living one day at a time, filled with experiences and with expectancy of seeing the Lord.
As I have the opportunity to minister to those who are at the end of life, I always try to convey this truth, “Life will change, not end.”
That change takes place for the one departing and the ones remaining behind.
This is a statement of comfort that God has so graciously bestowed to those who are making this journey.
This change affects all involved.
Friends, life continues on after we leave this earth.
There is a passing on, and a crossing over from the physical realm to an eternal realm or spiritual realm.
My experiences with many who leave this earth remain very similar in nature.
A transfer of hands; letting go of the hand held to reach forward to the hand extended.
There is a leaving here, to go there.
For some it may be a fearful thing.
How can I be sure of where I will spend eternity?
There must be a settling of the fact before each of us takes our last breath.
Thankfully, Scripture gives us the exceeding and great promises of eternal life.
The assurance of hope is provided in Scripture for those making the journey and those left behind.
As Christ’s death and resurrection set the pattern, the evidence is for certain.
He died and rose again; he lives forever in heaven, his kingdom.
The invitation to join him is clear.
The promise is concise.
Jesus said, “In my father’s house there are many mansions” and “I go to prepare a place for you.”
The extreme cost was paid by a loving God, who has prepared a place for us.
A relationship with Christ is our constant assurance that we can spend eternity with him and also with those who have completed their journey.
Perhaps you have lost someone you love this year and are experiencing the pain of that loss.Be at peace and allow the Lord to comfort you.
God in his kindness and mercy has prepared the way and the place.
Yes, for sure, there is an eternal home, and it is called heaven.
Hope to see you there.
Patty Scahill of Austintown is a conference speaker, author and hospice chaplain.