He was restless. Sleeping only lightly, unsettled.
But he awoke with a start, needing help to the bathroom. As he hobbled over, he asked the zinger, so typical of my daddy.
Is this heaven?
Or is this hell?
He’s known for asking questions. Tough ones. It’s one of his distinguishing marks in the Bible classes he taught for years. And he was never satisfied with pat answers. Dig deeper. Think, think. Think for yourself.
I’m trying to, Daddy. You’re still asking tough questions. I’m thinking.
I knew his mind was confused when he asked the latest. Nonetheless, I knew better than ignore my daddy. The question stood, and it begged an answer.
No time for theological deliberation. Spit something out.
Between the two choices? I chose heaven.
This is heaven, Daddy.
But if this is The Heaven we’d been bragging on all morning, it clearly left something to be desired.
Those who followed Jesus asked about this kingdom, too. Jesus answered, “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:20-21). He taught that believing in him gave them eternal life now (John 5:24).
I believe it. I knew Daddy believed, too, that we’ve already begun eternal life, life in the kingdom of heaven. Here. Now.
But now included obstacles. Later, none.
Daddy didn’t question my answer that this is heaven.
He didn’t ask, “Then why does it feel like hell?”
I couldn’t have answered. I know as believers that we’ve already passed from death to life, from heaven to hell.
But not in full. Fullness lies in hope. Ahead. Soon.
For now, in part can hurt. It can include disease. Pain. Confusion.
For now, it’s heaven on earth.
Later, it will be heaven in heaven.
Perfection with Jesus face to face.
So clear, that no one will have to ask.
* * *
Join with our friends at Ann’s blog for more Walk with Him Wednesday.