By Alan Bailey
Have you noticed how much heaven has been in the news lately? It makes me think that most people have a hope somewhere in their hearts that such a place exists and that they might have a chance of getting there.
A celebrity or well-known sportsperson dies and immediately friends and loved ones have them looking down on us, telling us that they are having such a great time and not to worry about them. In fact, we join them with a drink or two to celebrate.
Perceptions of heaven vary widely. Some hope for a glorious golf course, some a racecourse, others endless chocolate, and famously, some expect limitless sensual pleasure after their earthly martyrdom. The thing in common is unbroken bliss. Oh what a contrast to this troubled life we now live! What a relief from work and worry! No more bosses and nagging mothers-in-law! But is heaven just a fancy, after the style of a childish nursery rhyme, nothing more than an old superstition?
I believe in heaven because the one who has final authority has told us about it. He said "There are many rooms in my Father's house... I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you may also be where I am." Christ taught his followers very plainly that there is an after-life.
Think for a moment. If you were ushered in to a place of utter perfection, would you feel at home? Being as imperfect as we are, we would be like a fish in a tree. Our condition is sinful and unworthy of the presence of God.
That is, until Jesus deals with us to forgive, cleanse and finally fit us for the place He has prepared. This is what His life, death and resurrection was all about. We need to turn away from our own way, our self-reliance, and trust in Jesus in a personal way. We will never reach heaven without a Saviour.
Jesus promised, "Whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."
The last book in the Bible assures us that "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." •