What image comes to mind when you think about heaven? Do you imagine clouds and harps and winged seraphim? I get a vision of green hills, blooming flowers, and abundant wildlife (as C.S. Lewis described at the end of The Narnia Chronicles). Or perhaps you anticipate a vast crowd of people, friends and family waiting to welcome you.
Our assurance of heaven is a great comfort, especially when we lose someone we love. We can be confident that we’ll see them again and that we’ll spend forever together.
But what happens when that person we love has clearly rejected God’s offer of Himself? Heaven isn’t the only possible destination. The Bible clearly says that those who reject God’s offer of Heaven consign themselves to Hell—a horrible place devoid of God’s loving presence.
How do we cope with the loss of someone who didn’t choose God?
What is our eternal destination? While there have been some prominent church leaders proposing their own interpretation of the Bible on this topic, I always assumed that most Christians agreed on the basics—heaven and hell are real, and only perfect people can live in heaven. Since no one is perfect, we have to rely on Jesus’ perfection on our behalf. Otherwise, we consign ourselves to hell. Pretty orthodox—or at least I thought so.
With the recent death of my dad, lots of people are expressing their condolences. I really appreciate all the kindness we’re receiving—everyone has been so wonderful! What I find surprising, however, is how many people just assume that my dad went to heaven.
There are a lot of people I want to see when I get to heaven. First, of course, is Jesus. I think we’ll just hang out together for the first several thousand years. Then there are people I’ve known and loved here on earth. Of course I want to see them again. But what about all the new people who will be hanging out with God, people I’ve heard of but never met on earth? Which one do I want to meet the most?
I want to finally meet Noah’s wife. I want to get to know her. How did she cope with having a visionary for a husband?
See, when God told Noah to build the ark, He also explained why: “So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:13).
Note here that God told Noah. Nowhere is there any mention of God telling Mrs. Noah about much of anything. Did God just leave her in the dark? Did she have to take her husband’s word for it all? It’s easy to imagine Noah going home and having a little conversation with his wife… Continue reading