A few years ago, my dad and his wife, Deb, took my entire family to Disney World. All five of us were completely delighted at this very extravagant gift. It was the first time my three kids would fly in an airplane and experience the happiest place on earth. Since I was just a kid, I have always been a huge Disney fan, so the idea of experiencing the magic with my children had me walking on air.
We all had a calendar countdown as we awaited the day that we finally would get to go on our trip. Then all of a sudden my son Calvin came to me with great concern. (He was seven years old at the time.) He was very upset because he had been looking at the school lunch menu for the week that we would be in Florida. He was going to miss cheeseburger day! Turns out, seven-year-old Calvin loved the school cheeseburgers and was disappointed at the thought of missing out on this elementary school cafeteria delicacy.
At first, I was a little irritated that he would even give such a small thing so much of his attention and emotion. Then I realized, Calvin has never been to Disney World, but he has had the school cheeseburgers, and has found great satisfaction in them. When it comes to Disney World, he has no idea what he is in for! He has no clue what it’s like to experience the welcoming and care-free atmosphere of the Disney parks.
I assured him that Disney World had cheeseburgers and so much more. I promised him that he would in no way be disappointed. He wasn’t, and all of our kids had an incredible time. We have visited one other time since then and the kids are anxious to get there yet again. We are soaking that up and trying our best to do so before we get too far into the high school years and graduations.
This all reminds me of my perspective on Heaven. I totally want to go there… just not today or any day soon! I am familiar with this life –I have a good one and I love it, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who is uncomfortable with the idea of death.
Life here is what we know and it is good. I cannot help but think that this life we have here is much like Calvin’s cheeseburger. We really like it, but it is only what we know. We’ve never been to Heaven. We don’t have a clue what we are missing out on.
For me, everything comes down the question, What does Jesus have to say about it?, and I find the answer in the book of John:
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 home. 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.
When Jesus is speaking these words, he is at the last supper. He is preparing his friends for what is about to come. He knows they are getting ready to be devastated by his coming death. The encouragement that he gives them, gives me courage and hope as I think about eternity.
All boiled down Jesus says – Don’t be afraid. Trust in me. Heaven is real.
My gravitation to this beautiful life I have is because of my perspective. It is what I know and am familiar with. This life is a precious gift from God, and I am not necessarily looking to leave it anytime soon. However, because my trust has been placed completely in Christ, I can face whatever comes my way without fear. Jesus has prepared a place with me in mind. Heaven is not wishes and pixie dust. It is real and it is delightful. Knowing that I am just a heartbeat away from someplace better than Disney World is pretty amazing. I hope I will see you there!