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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heaven at the Pump

I chatted with a gentleman at the gas pump not long ago.

He seemed very happy, and we had an enjoyable few exchanges as we filled our respective vehicles -- a good thing, since the station was considered "cheap" at $4.05 a gallon, and I spent more than $60 to fill the tank.

At the end of our brief conversation, he gave me a tract that discussed heaven from a particular religious viewpoint, and expressed an eagerness for me to read it. Then he drove off and merrily waved as he pulled past me; I merrily waved back, but in my heart I whispered a prayer for him.

When I got home I read the tract. It described a beautiful paradise on earth, full of gardens and plentiful food and living space, bursting with health and peace, free of work or strife of any kind. Messiah would rule over this new world. Love would reign. The illustrations showed a park-like setting with happy families cuddling wild animals, and tamed lions and wolves resting next to sheep and deer.

It was very easy imagine.

And therein, for me, lies a problem. You see, I believe that God is infinitely greater than anything we can understand. When I think of the place that God's people will live after death, I remember the quote from Paul, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor. 2:9).

Then this morning in my writing group, another gentleman read some excerpts from a book he is writing about heaven. Do you ever feel like a topic is following you around? He was interested to hear questions that either we, or other people, might have about an afterlife.

So I'm asking you, my dear friends, for him. What questions do you have? Is there a heaven? Does everyone go there? If not, who doesn't, and why not? Do we just cease to exist at death? Can we know what happens, or do we just have to guess?

I'll be thinking about this topic and will get back soon with some more thoughts. But really, what I'd like most is to hear from you.

What is heaven like? And does it matter what you believe?


Krista Phillips said...

Besides streets of gold and pearly gates??? And St. Peter playing golf?? And Noah shootin the breeze with Abraham??

Sorry:-) To be honest, I used to contemplate this a lot, but then I stoped. I can't comprehend heaven. My head can't wrap around eternity. I believe in heaven and hell and that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I believe it is paradise, and there will be no sickness or sadness and that Jesus went to prepare a place for us. The bible tells us all these things.

But I choose not to dream about what it is. You are right, the Bible says that we can't comprehend and its right. Some have a good ole time dreaming about it which is AWESOME. I dunno, I am just wierd. I guess the biggness and awesomeness just overwhelms me sometimes.

Have you read the 90 minutes in heaven book? My hubby read it and really liked it. If you have, what are your thoughts on it??

Angela Breidenbach said...

Hi Amy,
I'm one of the FAITH girls. I liked your post:-) To me, I like to imagine heaven. I think because Jesus went to prepare a place for me and knows me, that my place will be specific to my likes and dislikes. Not in a selfish way, but in the way God made me to be. I also think that all the skills and talents we have on earth may be ours for a reason. I look forward to singing, writing, speaking for the Lord. I look forward to meeting all those who have gone before me. I can't wait to mingle with all those saints. It WILL take eternity to have conversations with all those folks! I believe God created us for relationship so it only makes sense to me that in Heaven, our time will be spent in relationship with Him and all the others there.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I believe the Bible gives us so much more information about heaven than we realize. I do believe in the multiple levels of heaven, Paradise being the third level as scripture says, but I don't necessary know what that looks like. Streets of gold may not be like I would imagine, because all I have to go by is what I know on earth.

I did read "90 Minutes in Heaven" and I loved that book. I had a hard time putting it down and I didn't see anything in the book that contradicted the Word. In fact, the music that is discussed is very similar to an experience I once had. Great topic.