Church of the Way

Church of the Way
Changing The Way You Think About Church

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Preacher, will I know my family in heaven?"

I got a couple of really good questions about loved ones in heaven:

  • Since your soul goes to heaven, how will a loved one know who you are if you haven't seen someone so long ago?
  • Will we know our loved ones in heaven.  If not, why would God create us to love so deeply and then take those relationships away?
Those are great questions.  I know that my grandparents are in heaven.  I've always looked forward to seeing them.  This question was actually posed to Jesus.  Some religious leaders asked Jesus who a woman who was widowed and remarried several times would be married to in heaven?  Jesus replied in Matthew 22:29-30, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."

That's not exactly what anyone wants to hear. But we have to dig deep to understand it.  We view that statement from Jesus as saying that those relationships will be taken away from us, and that's simply not true.  The Apostle John, through the vision given him by God, describes heaven as having streets of gold and a crystal sea.  Do you really think the streets are gold?  Maybe they are.  I think what John was trying to say is that the things we value on earth are so abundant in heaven that they are seemingly insignificant in heaven.  The things we value here are like dirt along the road and salt water.  They're nothing in heaven.  So, think about that in regard to relationships. 

The relationships we value here are so abundant in heaven that they're seemingly insignificant.  The love we will experience for all in heaven makes our earthly relationships seem...plain.  The love we share her on earth has conditions and is limited by our humanness.  Not in heaven.  We we are 'like' the angels in heaven.  We are spirit.  We have no limits.  Love has no limits.

Two things can help us understand this.  All of us had a middle or high school love that we thought was "The one."  We convinced ourselves that it was right.  We broke up and thought we'd never find love again.  Then, we met someone else, and that former love all of a sudden seemed immature and lacking.  What we once thought was so valuable now seemed childish and limited.  The love we share with our spouse is richer, fuller, and complete.  You see, we all think we're done growing up.  Jesus is saying that we've got some more maturing to do when it comes to love and relationships.  We will experience love more deeply than we can imagine for all people in heaven.  It's not that you won't love or know your grandfather.  It's that you'll love and know EVERYONE infinitely more than you loved and knew your grandfather.  Those relationships that are nearest to us now are little glimpses of heaven on earth.

The other part of this that helps us understand is children.  After you have your first child, you think you could never love another as much as you love that first baby.  Then, something happens.  You either have a second child or that child grows up and gives you a grandchild.  And when your second child is born or your first grandchild, a new area of your heart opens up that you didn't know you had.  Turns out you are capable of more love than you had originally thought.  You thought love was limited.  It's not.  We choose to make it limited to our family and closest friends.  In heaven, there are no limits -- only love.  You and I can't imagine loving other children as our own because we have limits.  We don't have time, we can't afford it or they're just not like us.  You don't see those limits in heaven.  We are spirit.  We are limitless.  And the things we value here are so abundant in heaven, they're seemingly insignificant.  So, ask yourself this question:  if your most valued relationships in heaven are like dirt and salt water, what kind of place must that be?  That's something to think about, isn't it?  Don't you want everyone to know how to get there!

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