“I’m scared to go to heaven forever,” Big E earnestly said to me as we sat at our classroom table this morning. “Forever.” He turned the word over on his tongue several times before continuing. “It’s never going to end. That scares me.”
I get it, kid.
In so many ways, Big E is me. I was that child staring at eternity, terrified of its neverending-ness. It seemed so vast and expansive, and I seemed so small and helpless in its shadow. Forever was scary. Forever doesn’t end.
If I’m honest, sometimes I’m that adult too. The past few months have forced me to wrestle with my own mortality, to meet it on its own turf, and acknowledge that life is entirely too fleeting and something bigger awaits each of us.
Then I look past the time and I see the person. I see God turn his back on his son hanging on the cross. I see Jesus bearing the full brunt of the wrath of God. I shudder at the thought of Christ feeling complete and utter separation from God the Father, their connection blemished, an eternity of perfect union smudged by my sin in order for me to have eternal life and have it completely. And then I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving, for I am surely unworthy, and yet I long for my inheritance. Eternity with Jesus will be a beautiful thing indeed.
I turned my attention to Big E. “Think about all the things you love about being alive,” I said to him. “What are those things?”
“My family. My friends. Playing,” he responded.
“Think about all the best parts about life. Eternity in heaven will be like that. Only the good parts. None of the bad parts!”
And then we talked about heaven and about Jesus and how eternity with Him is far, far better than eternity without him.