This weekend the kids and I fly out for my grandmother’s memorial service. She lived to be 91, faithful to Jesus and loving her family to the very end. Last year, we thought we might lose her, but God gave us one more year, so I was able to take Isaac to visit her earlier this month—unknowingly for the last time.
This time, I’m taking Arianna too. That means figuring out how to explain death, eternity, and heaven to her very young three year-old mind.
For example, after I received the news of Grandmother’s death, Arianna cupped my tear-streaked face in her little hands and said, “It’s ok, Mama. Maybe you can go to Heaven to see her!” I tried to smile and replied, “Yes, because I know Jesus, I will see her in Heaven someday. Do you know Him?” She smiled and answered, “Yes.”
Later that evening, I told Luke about our conversation, and he asked her, “Arianna, do you know Jesus?” She nodded. “Do you know where He is?” She grinned shyly and answered, “In my body.” “Oh really, how did He get there?” “Through my back!”
So maybe her theology is a bit off, but it’s a lot for her little mind to comprehend! And in reality, there’s a lot about God and the Gospel that we can’t fully wrap our adult minds around either. I remember in high school hearing about how beautiful and wonderful Heaven is, but deep inside, I hoped Jesus wouldn’t come back just yet. I still wanted to do things—like win the volleyball tournament, graduate from high school, date, get married… There was so much more to life that I wanted to experience before I went to sit on a cloud above streets of gold and sing hymns while playing a harp.
If there’s anything I don’t want Arianna to believe, it’s that picture of Heaven. Yet even now, after I’ve tasted some of the pain and sorrow in this life, I can’t quite grasp how Heaven holds everything that my soul longs for—and more. I can’t fathom an eternity without tears (or anger and frustration for that matter). I can’t imagine how petty and outdated the iPhone 6 will seem when we’re in the presence of the Word Himself.
This year at VOICE, we studied the Ten Commandments. The tenth commandment warned us not to covet the things on earth—why? Because there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy the longings of our heart. It’s a reminder that we weren’t created for this life only—we were created for eternity.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 ESV)