Why Am I Here? Third in a series.
“Can you tell me why I’m here?” She asked me as she climbed into her pretty little pink bed, gathering her favorite dolls next to her. This was my only daughter at age seven ~ born an old soul. Sooner or later, we all ask ourselves the question: Why Am I Here?
The answer: I am here for relationship with God.
Now and forever. It is easy to think of our lives as two separate things—life on earth, life in the hereafter—whichever place we choose. However, our lives are all one piece.
That became even clearer yesterday at a memorial service as I explained how loving God and loving others on earth translates into loving God and loving others forever in Heaven.
‘Heaven? Oh, please,’ comes your sardonic response. ‘Heaven, as in clouds and angels? At best, it will be boring.’
Perhaps you have not heard, or you failed to apply these words of Jesus to your thinking. He had just told his disciples he would be leaving them soon, but quickly explained: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. [With Jesus there, it will not be boring!] You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”1
Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place that will be our forever home because we have relationship with him. Scripture calls that place Heaven and there is much that can be known of it.
What must it be like and how can we know? Lean in.
My own interest in knowing about heaven was piqued when my mother went to Heaven, now 13 ½ years ago. About that time, I read a book that I found very credible, comparing it to the pages of Scripture, the litmus test for truth.
Here’s the story: a minister was leaving a conference in Texas, in a driving wind and rainstorm, when he swerved to avoid a collision and then was run over by an 18-wheeler – pronounced dead on the scene by four different sets of paramedics who then went on to help others who might have a chance at life.
Another pastor, leaving the same conference, happened onto the tragic scene and felt compelled by God to stop. Further, he strangely felt compelled to pray for the man in the mangled car, all the while wondering to himself what the prompting meant, as it seemed so strange. Somehow he climbed into the back of the small car, got behind the driver’s seat (the ‘deceased’) and alternately prayed for the man and sang hymns to him. Would you believe it? The ‘deceased’ started singing along with him.2
Don Piper, the man who spent 90 minutes in Heaven described some of his experience – including the glorious light, the welcoming committee that greeted him, and more. Since hearing Piper at a venue near my home several years ago, I have dug into what we can know about Heaven.
There are literally thousands of people who have had experiences akin to Piper’s. While some may scoff about the possibility of seeing something of Heaven and living to tell about it, here is how it could happen; lean in. An individual has some kind of physical trauma, is pronounced dead and then is medically resuscitated some time later. The peek into Heaven happens in that in-between time.
There are several things the taste of Heaven experiences have in common:
First, Heaven is a place of unimaginable BEAUTY with mountains, trees, flowers, sunsets… why yes, it is very colorful. One man I interviewed said that the color is alive, almost liquid, because our senses are greatly heightened.3
Heaven is a place of glorious LIGHT; in heaven, there is no darkness. The LIGHT flows from a central source: Jesus himself. So interesting how this puts flesh on the beloved disciple’s words describing Jesus as both Light and Life. “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”4 Huh, and check out the next verse: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.5 Reminds me of Revelation 21.23!
Heaven is a place of LOVE, and you guessed it—two kinds of love. Love of God and love of other people. It permeates Heaven. More to come on Heaven…
Why are you here? You are here, you were born for relationship with God, now and forever. Amen.
1 – John 14.1-6
2 – Don Piper, 90 Minutes in Heaven
3 – I met this man at the post office, spent several sessions talking with him about his experience after a horrific motorcycle accident, and believed everything he told me. His manner was humble, he had nothing to gain, and several times, he broke down with emotion, just recalling bits and pieces. He has since recorded his story: Caught Up to Paradise / The Story of a Near-Life Event / A Taste of Heaven! Michael Herbert. Yes, it is on Amazon.