May 282013 11 Responses

What is Heaven Like? (or Does Grandma Know All My Sins?)

A few years ago my wife and I were in Kauai for vacation. We were hiking along the Napali coast when I came to a view which might be the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

Napali Coast

I didn’t know water could be that blue. I was struck by the contrast of the mountains against the ocean. It was a sight I will never forget.

As I was mesmerized by the beauty, my wife continued walking up the trail another 50 yards. I assumed she was right beside me until she called my name. It startled me when I turned and she wasn’t there.

One of the most common questions I am asked is “Can my grandmother (or mother) see me from heaven?” Sometimes it is asked with a loving longing to know they are still in their grandmother’s vision, but often it’s a question of fear. “Does grandma know my every sin now that she is in heaven,” is what they are really asking.

It is an intriguing question.

Obviously I can’t answer it with certainty. The Bible gives us very little insight into what is taking place in heaven at this moment. Yet two thoughts come to mind.

First, heaven is a place of more knowledge, not less. I can’t fathom the people in heaven not being able to know what is taking place on earth. It would seem strange if heaven had a blind spot. Yet if the citizens of heaven do look at what is taking place on earth, we can only assume they see things radically different than how we do. They see as Jesus sees. The common fear of thinking that our deceased loved one now knows our every sin reveals a misconception about sin. Why would we be more worried about our grandma knowing our sin than Jesus knowing it? Clearly he sees all. If we truly understood the nature of sin, we would be more concerned with his eyes than our grandmother’s.

Second, heaven is a place of more beauty, not less. What draws our attention on earth gives us a small glimpse of what heaven will be like, but it is a clouded vision. What we find important now won’t necessarily be important then. All the gossip which intrigues us here won’t be of any concern then. I wonder if the beauty of heaven won’t be so great that the things of this earth would be hard pressed to draw the attention of anyone in the presence of God.

When I think of my loved ones in heaven, I think about my trip to Hawaii. I remember standing on the Napali Coast and looking at the ocean. I remember being so enthralled by what I saw that for a moment I didn’t even realize my wife wasn’t beside me.

I can’t help but think that heaven might be that way. Maybe our loved ones are so mesmerized by the beauty of God that they haven’t even realized yet that we are not there. They haven’t had time to realize our absence because their senses are so overwhelmed by beauty.

Maybe it will be like me that day in Hawaii. I didn’t realize my wife was gone until she called my name and drew my attention back to her. Maybe the first time my loved ones realize I haven’t been in heaven is the moment I call their name and announce my presence. Then we will be together forever.

Much of heaven is speculation, yet the safest way to speculate is to always assume whatever good we have experienced on this earth will be so much more in heaven. Any good on earth is just a glimpse of what will be in heaven.

What is your greatest question about heaven?

11 Responses to What is Heaven Like? (or Does Grandma Know All My Sins?)

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