Ministers are often asked questions about the afterlife. Those are the most difficult to deal with, mainly because none of us knows the complete answers!
Several years ago I walked away with his widow from the graveside of a dear friend. She asked me as we walked, “Where is my husband?” I paused for a moment and told her what is clear from Scripture. “He’s wherever Jesus is!” Jesus said, “Where I am, there you will be also.” Paul also understood that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
No one knows physically where heaven is. I’ve had friends who were golfers who wanted to know if there were courses in heaven. My equestrian friends are looking forward to pastures where horses can graze in the beauty of eternal light. We wish for heaven to be like the best of earth. But that misses the point!
The Book of Revelation gives us some dimensions of the new city of Jerusalem which are amazing but Paul says that what God thinks is beyond the mind of man. That kind of mystery excites me. When I have traveled in magnificent parts of the earth, I have wondered how God would create something even more beautiful?
We know that every human being has a future date with eternity. We are “appointed once to die and after that, the judgment.” Almost all religions of the world have a concept of an eternal destination. The Christian faith is much more specific about there being eternal destinations: one where those who receive God’s love and trust His grace will be and the other the destiny of those who reject God’s love. What is implied in those truths is a response to prepare for the eternal.
I admit that my understanding of eternity is limited. The little girl who told her pastor that she knew everything about the Bible caused him to pause. “Can you tell me?” the inquiring preacher asked. “Sure,” she volunteered, ‘The Bible means “Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.’” She ran on to catch up with her mother but the preacher thought to himself: ”A little child shall lead them.”
We will not exhaust our questions about eternity until we are there, but I have two clear directions:
1) to learn as much as I can about those basic instructions before leaving earth and
2) to see the Lord with whom I started a relationship over 60 years ago. I, too will be where Jesus is and that will be everything I’ve wanted to know.
By the way, Jesus is still calling for folks to be with Him!