I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven in recent weeks, wondering what it will be like to step through the door from this life I know, to my new and forever life in heaven. Will I take one last look at this world I’ve enjoyed and then turn away to the welcoming arms of Jesus? Or will my eyes remain fixed on loved ones I’m pained to leave, bidding them to follow as I simply fall backward into the arms of my Lord and Savior?
What will it be like to walk through heaven’s door?
Of course, you realize there are also many doors between us and heaven’s gates. There is the door of realizing that there is a God, and we’re not him! There’s the door of realizing we need the saving grace of Jesus who paid the price for our sins. There’s the door of baptism, the public profession of our faith, not something hidden in the shadows of our life. There are doorways we cross over to learn patience, kindness, faithfulness, and other qualities we want to mark our lives. We walk through these doors once and continually evaluate the purpose and passions of our life as identified by that passage. Having passed through the door of salvation, how do I now live this “new life in Christ”? How is my life transformationally different because of this?!” After all, what is the point of passing through a door if I don’t intend to enjoy and participate in what’s on the other side?
There are doors of friendships that bring us closer to heaven. They open to reveal God’s grace and truth. In these relationships, we share life as it really is, without pretense. We encourage each other to seek the best, God’s best, and to live purposeful and rewarding lives as we wait for heaven. Chit-chat easily gives way to meaningful and cherished sharing of what’s most important to us. Who knows, the door of one friendship might be “One Door Away From Heaven.” Dean Koontz, author of the book by that name describes it like this:
“What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven? If your heart is closed, then you will find behind that door nothing to light your way. But if your heart is open, you will find behind that door people, who, like you, are searching and you will find the right door together with them. None of use can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into the light.”
I see it actually as God’s hand of grace and forgiveness that leads us out of the darkness, not our own doing. The gift of heaven comes only by faith in Jesus who offers it. But isn’t it also true that we all play a part in opening doors for those around us by our encouragement and daring to be real with them? Don’t these deepest of friendships open the door that is one door from heaven? I think it’s how God designed us to belong to each other as a community of caring people.
No doubt, we all have lots of speculation about what heaven will be like. While the bible doesn’t tell us everything, reading it reveals much about heaven that should appeal greatly to each of us. No more sorrow, no more pain. Sharing forever with the one who loves us most. Reuniting with loved ones who’ve gone before us. Beauty quite literally beyond our imagination – life as it was designed to be from the beginning.
More and more, I am discovering these truths from God’s Word bless my day in the most practical ways. Focusing my energies and passions on relationships that open doors to heaven keeps me from wasting my life on so much meaningless chit-chat and activity. I hope this for you too. Live with hearts open to the purpose and passion God speaks to you. Be intentional about the doors you open for others.