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?)
  1. Nicole Reply

    My question seems small yet I wonder, will we be married in heaven? Will we live as families? I find it comforting to think my grandparents are together again, that they are together waiting do me…or as you stated, maybe not realizing I am missing. Small question, I know, but I have wondered this since I was a child….and also if all dogs go to heaven, but that’s another story.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      The Bible states that we won’t be married, yet that doesn’t mean our relationship with our spouse will be less in heaven than on earth. I think this begins to show us how much better every relationship in heaven will be. I’ve always assumed no on the animals going to heaven.

  2. Sue Rogers Reply

    Kevin, would you check into the animal question again? And, if animals don’t go to heaven, will we just not knowhow much comfort and love they gave us here on earth?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I just don’t see any evidence of animals having any eternal qualities. It is very reasonable to assume the new heaven and new earth will have animals.

  3. Amy Reply

    Kevin, have you been to Heaven yourself? No, you haven’t. You have no idea whether beloved pets are there or not. So why not avoid unnecessarily breaking people’s hearts by telling the truth? The truth is: YOU DON’T KNOW!

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Amy, I was asked a sincere question so I gave a sincere answer. I clearly stated I wasn’t certain, but tried to give the best answer I could. I seriously doubt I broke any hearts by giving my answer.

      • priyanga Reply

        i lost my grandma in past week. she appeared in my dream he hugged and kissed me in my dream and she stated that she will be always there for me. my question is whether i meet my grand ma again, because i loving her so much and i cant believe that she was left me. if there any possibility that i will meet her again in my life.

        • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

          I would think that throughout your life you will be reminded of her–seeing her in dreams, being reminded of her voice, remembering things she taught you and good times you shared.

  4. Amy Reply

    Only the hearts of those who still grieve the loss of their pets, long to be reunited with them in eternity, and take your word as indisputable truth. Hopefully no one interprets you as an authority.

    Dominus vobiscum… Amy

  5. Madison Burrows Reply

    Hi, I recently lost my grandpa. The only thing that has kept me going is me seeing him again. He was like my pawpaw and father in one. Will he recognize me in heaven? Will we live together? Will he be my grandpa in heaven? Will we remember what he was to me in heaven and all of our precious mem? And will him and my grandma still be married in heaven?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Heaven will be a place of more knowledge, not less. The relationships will be stronger, not weaker.

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