Is there really life after death? If so, what will heaven be like? Is there really a place called “hell”? What will hell be like? Will we know each other in heaven? All of these questions and a myriad number of others cross the minds of those who have a spiritual consciousness. Everyone knows that we will die. What causes us angst is that we don’t know when, how, or what the process of death is really like. Even watching a loved one die does not help because they are not capable of telling us about the first 15 minutes following death and what they see, feel, and experience. Some have claimed to have experienced that and written books about it. Even so, we still have concerns about that last great journey.
When John Todd, a nineteenth-century clergyman, was six years old, both his parents died. A kind-hearted aunt raised him until he left home to study for the ministry. Later, this aunt became seriously ill, and in distress she wrote Todd a letter. Would death mean the end of everything, or could she hope for something beyond? Here, condensed from The Autobiography of John Todd, is the letter he sent in reply: "It is now thirty-five years since I, as a boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day I made the long journey to your house. I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your handyman, Caesar, to fetch me.
"I remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey, and I became lonely and afraid. 'Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there?' I asked Caesar. 'Oh no!' he said reassuringly, 'She'll stay up for you. When we get out of these here woods, you'll see her candle shinin' in the window.'
"Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me--a tired and bewildered little boy. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my new room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.
"Someday soon, God will send for you to take you to a new home. Don't fear the summons, the strange journey, or the messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting you. And, you will be safe in God's care." Vernon Grounds.
I love the fact that Jesus called heaven “home”. Home is the place we love to rush to enter following a long day at work. Home is where the folks we love the most are waiting for us. Home is where all of our celebrative events are held (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.). Home is the place where we can truly rest and get comfortable because we are “home” at last.
Heaven is home for the believer. The Lord has gone before us to prepare the place. He is the LIGHT of Glory and when it is time for us to go “home”, He will illuminate the way for us! I am so very glad to be a Christ-follower that is homeward bound! “Who will come go with me?”