So what’s the point of going to heaven?
I once had a very close friend whom I regularly met up with for coffee. She became like a spiritual mother to me. We went to the movies together, visited the beach, she cooked for me, I cooked for her, we laughed and cried together, shared secrets with one another, swapped books, gossiped, shopped etc. I thought we would be friends for life.
I also thought that I could tell her when I was angry with her. So one day, I expressed my anger in a frustrated text message, I was trying to be honest and I wanted to talk it through. She was so hurt and upset that within 3 months she stopped talking to me altogether. We lost our friendship.
The loss of this relationship has grieved my heart for three years. I’ve apologised, sent text messages, letters and postcards, but to not avail. I struggle in the month of May because it’s the month I lost my mum (RIP) and a year later my spiritual mum who had become one of my closest ever friends.
However, I believe my relationship with this friend will be reconciled in heaven. I believe that she will understand why I was angry, what I was thinking and feeling, and that I never meant to hurt her to the extreme that I apparently did. She will understand the feelings of rejection I have experience since losing her; my regret and sadness.
And I will understand why she did what she did, how she felt, how deeply I wounded her or triggered past wounds from other people. I’ll experience her perspective of the situation and she’ll experience mine. Then we will embrace and cry and let it all go. We will mutually forgive all the hurt, loss and misunderstanding. We will love each other in ways we were not capable of on earth with our limited, selfish minds.
When God says he will wipe all the tears from our eyes, it’s because there WILL be a lot of crying when we get to heaven. We will have conversations with every person we ever came into contact with or influenced to the minutest degree. And even the people we never met who were alive before or after us – we will see the ripple effect of our lives on every other life. We will reconcile every hurt and failing. We will fully understand why our parents seemed distant, why our friends seemed to reject us, why our children seemed to grow up and leave us… We will understand the “other sides” of every story. We will know each other completely, and be experienced fully for who we truly are.
There will be a lot of forgiving in heaven, and all the pain of life will be reviewed through the lens of redemption. All the friends we’ve lost will be gained back – broken relationships healed and restored. Every person who deleted us off facebook and every person we deleted – all together again, like a reunited family.
Heaven is not really about streets of gold and castles in the sky. It’s about relationships. Heaven isn’t blissful because we’re suddenly all wealthy and immortal. Heaven is blissful because there is so much love there. No room for hate. No miscommunication. Pure acceptance of one another. Complete understanding of our pasts.
I want to go to heaven because there will be no more heartache there. No more relational suffering. And now that I understand that that’s what heaven is all about, I live my life knowing that whatever rejections I think I’m experiencing on earth are only temporary.
The division in my family because an Uncle comes out as gay and his brother doesn’t want to communicate with him – that will inevitably come to an end. The facebook friends who have called me a heretic or pressed the block button and pretended they never new me – we will laugh about it in heaven. The experience of separation in relationships, emotionally, spiritually, physically – it will all be done away with in heaven and there will be NO SEPARATION.
Knowing this, frees me to be myself. I can be more honest about my emotions, my sexuality, my theology – because even if I’m hated for these things in this life, everything will be okay on the other side.
Rejection isn’t real.
Love is real.
Hatred can only ever be temporary.
Reconciliation will last forever.
Accusations are weak.
True understanding will only breed acceptance.
“Love always protects
Love always trusts
Love always hopes
Love always perseveres
Love never fails
But where there are prophecies
They will cease…
Where there is knowledge
It will pass away
For we know in part
And we prophecy in part
But when completeness comes
What is in part disappears
For now we see only a poor reflection
As in a mirror
Then we shall see face to face
Now I know in part
Then I shall know fully
Even as I am fully known
And now these three remain:
Faith, hope and love
But the greatest of these is
1 Corinthians 13:7-13