“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”
Recently I read an award winning poem that described the innocent thoughts of a child written by a parent. The child talked about his grandparent in heaven and I couldn’t help but wonder why a child who didn’t go to church would think of heaven. Since I know the poet personally I know that this child has not been exposed to God or church in any way, yet he thought of heaven when thinking about a loved one that passed away.
Like children we long for heaven but why?
As adults we can be annoyed at the multitude of questions that children ask. But it is with these questions that I hope prompts us to see if we can answer our children’s questions.
Questions such as why is the sky blue or why can’t we see God. These questions are ones that parents have heard on multiple occasions but are we attempting to find the answers? Can you explain why the sky is blue or why we can’t see God? 1 Peter 3:15 clearly states that we are to give a reason for the hope that we have.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)
Furthermore, what makes children who have never been to church know that heaven is a place they want to go? They don’t have to know or contemplate heaven and hell to know where they belong. At times as adults we over complicate the idea of the afterlife so much that we lose hope in finding an answer that satisfies our own inquiries? We have questions ourselves and we need to seek out answers to our own questions and longings.
Children pose these simple yet philosophical questions to what many adults try to overlook and run away from. When the questions are quite clear to children such as where they will spend eternity, it’s not always the case for adults. In many ways adults would rather hide from answering this question because it either seems like a long way off until they will see what the afterlife is like or it appears too deep of a question to venture towards.
Why do we yearn for things not of this world?
In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote,
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
If we possess a longing nothing in this world can satisfy then that is proof that we are made for a world far greater than this one. Even children know this! We inherently know that earth is not our forever home. Franklin Graham says it the best, “My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.”
As children talk about loved ones that have passed away and while they imagine them in heaven having the time of their life do we brush these visions from children aside? I hope not because more often than not adults are also thinking about these things, they are just too afraid to admit it. They are also afraid of finding something they may not like but we will have to make a choice about what we believe at some point in our life.
A great example of this is the child prodigy Akiane whose picture of Jesus was mentioned in the movie, Heaven Is For Real. (I recently interviewed Todd Burpo, author of Heaven Is For Real, which you can find here.) Akiane was homeschooled and started drawing and painting pictures of Jesus when she was 8 years old. Her parents had not introduced her to any belief system and she drew a picture she said was Jesus. Additionally, her mother stated in her book Akiane that her daughter talked about God on her own which left her parents puzzled. She even used the name God which was not a word used in their household.
Heaven is more than a utopia we imagine in our dreams that in some way exceeds everything we can possibly experience here on earth. It’s impossible to long for a place that we have never visited unless we were specifically designed for that place. When C.S. Lewis talked about being made for another world he was giving a logical conclusion why children talk about heaven and God without being introduced to the meaning by people in their life. It is also why adults can conclude that God is the logical explanation as to why we long for heaven! He created us to desire him which includes spending time with him.
A better question is how are we responding to his promptings?!