I just finished watching the "Larry King Live" show featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, his wife, and his three oldest children. It was amazing, inspiring, hope-filled, and tragically honest. Those folks are walking one day at a time - actually, Steven said that sometimes it's just 15 minutes at a time. I can't say enough about how incredible it was- and they were, especially in light of the fact that it was aired on CNN - not exactly the place where you'd expect to find a lot of encouragement regarding eternity....
This has been a week that has been very Heaven-minded for myself and my family. There's been a number of situations: these interviews with SCC being aired, the passing of Allison and the writing that her husband Thomas has done in regards to her, other circumstances that have forced us to look at "the big, eternal picture" - and then, there's been my kids.
On Monday, as we were headed to Michele's, the kids got into a very merry conversation about just how awesome Heaven will be. They talked about the special rooms that they'll all have and all the animals that will surround them. With heightened enthusiasm, they negotiated who will have Baby Sydney and who will have Baby Sierra and how Mom and Dad can have the Meyers dogs. (Yes, I have to laugh at that - it is NOT a statement about how the Meyers won't be in Heaven - they'll be there, for sure- it is more that they called "first dibs" on Belle and Champ on our behalf.....!) The conversation escalated into "I just can't wait" exclamations - almost an "I wish it was tomorrow" sentiment - they same sort of feelings you would expect for Disneyland.
I can't even tell you how awesome and yet strange this was for me to hear. Their attitudes towards Heaven are 180 degrees from where I was at when I was their age. I was terrified of Heaven - and God. I was given "just enough" information to be very dangerous for a child of my age - and not nearly enough information to add any clarification. Heaven was the lesser of two bad places as far as I was concerned, because, from the knowledge I had gained (based on radio programs we listened to when spending the night with Grandpa and Grandma) - "You won't even know your own parents when you are in Heaven" (a belief I don't currently subscribe to, but, to an 8 year old child - you can understand just how horrifying that would be).
Please, please, please don't misunderstand the purpose of this post as being an opportunity for theological debate on who we'll know in Heaven or whether or not we'll have our pets there. I choose not to go down that road in my thoughts as I believe anything negative or disappointing that I would want to consider about Heaven (while here on Earth) are merely tools of the Enemy to keep me in fear, and sidetrack me from where my focus really should be. I am confident that when I arrive -and am finally made whole in Christ- NOTHING will disappoint. I can't begin to grasp that understanding now, so I choose only to believe the best my mind can grasp.
And, consequently, I choose not to steer my children into those theological debates either. Their glee and enthusiasm for Heaven is an absolute gift, and oh, how Jesus must have been smiling when He heard them carrying on. They have a firm grasp on all of the Truth* that I believe they really need to know when it comes to understanding Heaven and why we'll be there - and after all of the reminders that have put in my life this week- that's all that's important.........
* If you have any questions as to what I believe that Truth is, I wrote a post about it here.