Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4
As we neared the Caprock the fog became so thick we could hardly see the road in front of us. We knew we were on the road to Clovis, but the route was obscured until we were on top. We had faith that if we continued on our current path we would eventually wind up in Clovis.
The same can be said of our journey to heaven. We can see the evidence of heaven by looking at the night sky. Psalm 19:1 tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork”. Although we can see billions of stars, heaven is obscured from view.
I thought about heaven a great deal since I heard Don Piper speak at a recent conference. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Don Piper is the author of the book “90 Minutes in Heaven”. He tells about his experience in heaven after a tragic car accident left him clinically dead. Emergency personnel worked tirelessly to save him before they finally declared him dead. After an hour and a half, a pastor was praying over him when Don suddenly started singing. The pastor convinced emergency personnel to take another look and to their surprise they found out he was actually alive.
His story didn’t end there, as the Lord had much more in store for his life. Through a series of miracles he is alive today. Not only is he alive, there is no visible sign of his horrific injuries. I urge people to read his book because I know hearing him made a huge impact on my life.
There is quite a bit of controversy over near death experiences, as some people don’t believe they are real. I am writing this not to spark any additional controversy because everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs. I am writing this because I choose to believe the experience as told by Don Piper and others.
My own grandmother told me about her own near death experience. She was only 34 years old at the time. Shortly after she was wheeled out of surgery, the doctor covered her with a sheet and told my grandfather she was gone. He pulled back the sheet and informed the doctor she wasn’t gone and he should work on her some more. The doctor was able to get her heart started again after several minutes.
She said during that time she saw the gates of heaven with her mother who died over ten years earlier waiting for her. She talked with her mother for a couple of minutes and was told it wasn’t yet her time. She then felt pulled back and woke up in her body. Whatever happened to her was very real to her and she never forgot the experience. She eventually died at the age of 97 and I am sure she is now in heaven and will greet me someday.
I am sure I have a home waiting for me in heaven because Jesus promised it in John 14:1-3 when He said he had a place prepared. He went on to say why my place is prepared. In John 14:3-4,6 He said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.
Paul told his own story about heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:1-6. Many scholars believe he is talking about himself, possibly after one of the stonings he experienced when he was dragged out of town, presumably dead. In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 he had this to say, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.
Unless Jesus Christ comes back, all of us will face death before we see Jesus in heaven. We won’t be like Enoch who was taken by God or Elijah who was taken into heaven by a whirlwind.
Are you ready for that day when you die? If not, what will you do about it?