I’ve been spending a lot of time at funeral homes lately. I’ve attended 6 funerals in the past 9 weeks. One of those was for my own father. I officiated 4 of the funerals, and I also spoke at my dad’s service. (Which was a great celebration of his life, by the way.) We also recently mourned the passing of America’s pastor, Billy Graham.
So it’s easy to see that death has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been trying to intentionally say that someone is not dead but passed away. Yes, the physical body is dead, but I believe our spirits pass into the spiritual realm. Where exactly do we go when we die? For the believer in Christ, there is the promise of eternity with God.
Heaven is a place that our limited human minds cannot fathom. In many funeral services, I try to help mourners understand just how impossible it is for us to comprehend this mystical place. The Bible tries to describe heaven to us in colorful ways. It’s a place where gold will be the equivalent to asphalt pavement. It’s a place where huge gates will be made of a single pearl (Revelation 21:21).
I like to illustrate our inability to comprehend heaven like this. Suppose, on the day before you were born, someone communicated with you while you were in your mother’s womb. You were a living human being completely comfortable in your snug little apartment. You had all you needed right there inside your mom. But you were told that you would have to leave soon. There was a great big world in store for you. You would leave your tiny dwelling for life on planet earth. You would experience love, joy, laughter, and hope. You would go to school, listen to music, play sports, and drive cars. You would swim in the ocean and climb mountains. You would train for a job, and you would create an income for yourself. You would get married and have children of your own. You would learn how to love God and His creation.
If someone had told you what life was going to be like here while you were still in your mother’s womb, would you have been able to comprehend it? Of course not. So our feeble efforts to describe what life will be like when we pass away from this life are noble, but they are completely inadequate to be truly understood. Heaven is an incomparable place. I believe it’s going to be a place full of family reunions, new adventures, amazing places, and eternal joy.