She had a timeless beauty. The visible signs of age were present and yet only added to her allure of having a well-kept secret. The inner joy she expressed etched smile lines falling in the lovely places. She loved people and people loved her. I was one of them.
Through the years we shared many deep conversations, and they were sometimes punctuated with raucous laughter. We also shared a deep love for Jesus. We had both come to know Him later in life. The newness of His grace would wash over us when we spoke of Him and therefore, He was often the topic of conversations. We also daydreamed about heaven, and what it would be like to meet him face to face.
I was out of the country when she was first diagnosed. Hearing upon my return, I was soon knocking on her door.
With her megawatt smile, and twinkling eyes, she exclaimed, “Hahaha, I am going to get to heaven before you. I win!”
I nearly fell into her arms. “Don’t, don’t, don’t say that!”
This was a woman confident of her destination. The heaven written about throughout Scripture. In the light of a devastating diagnosis, she had hope: the hope of heaven.
What can we learn about heaven that will speak hope into our midnight hour?
Heaven is a Place and a Promise
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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 also may be where I am. “You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1-6 (NIV)
Heaven is in God’s Presence and Brings Eternal Pleasures
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
Heaven is the Home of Perfect Knowledge
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Cor 13:9-12 (NIV)
Heaven is Prepared for us by God
“However, as it is written: ‘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
My friend arrived in heaven within six months of that day. I miss her deeply but know our hope has been fulfilled. I still daydream about heaven. Though now I also think about our reunion, and smile when I imagine her dancing a little jig and saying, “Winner!”