[On Facebook I have a group site called "Deeper Thoughts with Dave" where I originally posted these thoughts. I mention this as some of you might be reading this for the 2nd time and others of you might be interested in finding my Facebook group.]
So I was reading the Bible with my four kids tonight.
**Aside** Now before you go thinking that I am "Super Spiritual Dad" the truth is before this month it was probably about six months since we have read the Bible together. We pray every night but we don't read every night, which is sad because kids that our my kids' age fire away with some really great questions. If you our looking for a Bible to read I highly recommend "The Jesus Storybook Bible" by Sally Lloyd-Jones, it is excellently written. And I highly recommend reading the Bible with your kids as we strive to do! ***Aside Over***
Tonight we read on the ten commandments, which was interesting because next week I start a class on the ten commandments and this week I have been reading three books on the commandments. I was explaining to the kids that the commandments are there to show us the right way to live but they are mostly there to show us that we are not perfect. A the kids readily fessed up to not keeping the commandments except for 3 year old Natalie who claimed perfection. The other kids quickly set her straight. I told them that the commandments show us that we will not go to heaven. This threw Alise for a loop and she did not let me finish my sentence. she seemed to have thought that her eternal destiny was secure but now she wasn't so sure and this rightly troubled her. I calmed her down by explaining that this is exactly why Jesus' life is such a big deal. The commandments show us that we are in a lot of trouble and we need rescuing as we can't do it by our own effort. Jesus is the rescuer whose death covers our sin making us perfect before God and making it possible for us to be with Jesus in heaven. There's the magic word to get my kids talking - heaven!
3 year old Natalie was the inquisitive one tonight. She furrowed her brow and held her hands out and said, "were not all going to die?" I broke the bad news to her. Natalie then says, "Why are some people not careful and we are?" I guess she was thinking that only the non-careful people die. I again broke the bad news to her. Then Natalie says, "My Grandma Great is not in heaven." The kids quickly broke the good news to her that she was. Natalie was really thinking now and says, "Is Willmar heaven?" We laughed and laughed and I broke the bad news to her that it is not and then she cried and cried. No, she didn't cry because Willmar is not heaven, she cried her big three year old tears cause everyone was laughing at her! We all apologized and I asked her if she had anymore questions and she said she did. Then she asked "Well, where is heaven?" I'll give her credit she was bound and determined to figure it out. Luke clues her in by letting her know that "heaven is in outer space." I'm sure that helped.
I told her that we don't know where heaven is right now but we do know where heaven will be one day. Is heaven going to move? That's what the Bible says. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and other passages tell us that those believers who die are with Jesus right now but they are also not in their completed state and are waiting with the rest of us for Jesus to return to the earth. Revelations 21 and other passages tells us that once Jesus returns heaven will move to earth and earth will be restored. Life will be somewhat different on earth however as in no sin, death will not be allowed in, sickness will be left out, sorrow and grief will be no more, etc. On earth though is where we will be in perfect communion with each other, the animals, and with the Trinity.
So I got to thinking actually Natalie might be right! Willmar is on earth and so someday in someway Willmar will be heaven after all! I look forward to my visit there. Natalie was very pleased that her question wasn't so silly after all. Emily was just concerned that if we were in perfect communion with the animals she wouldn't be able to eat meat. That's my girl!