What’s Next

So, let’s talk about Heaven. It’s been on my mind lately since our family has experienced the loss of a loved one as did a very close friend of mine.

Where is heaven? What is heaven? Who is there? Who isn’t there? Are there dogs in heaven?
Are there people there that I struggled to get along with in this life and do I have to be nice to them?

Seriously though, I’m digging for some answers besides the aggravating “We just don’t know” or “It’s a mystery.” The more people I know that have headed there, the more I want to know about this place.

God’s word in Scripture is always a good place to start looking for truths so let’s look at what we’ve been told by God about heaven.

In his essay “Heaven-What Is it Like and Where Is it?” Dr. Ray Pritchard compiles these verses as truths of Heaven.

  • The Father’s house (John 14:2-3). My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
  • Where Christ is today (Acts 1:11). “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
  • A city designed and built by God – (Hebrews 11:16). Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
  • Paradise (Luke 23:43). (To the thief on the cross next to Jesus), “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

He goes on to say, Everyone wants to know about heaven and everyone wants to go there. Recent polls suggest that nearly 80% of all Americans believe there is a place called heaven. I find that statistic encouraging because it tells me that even in this skeptical age there is something deep inside the human heart that cries out, “There’s got to be something more. Something more than the pain and suffering of this life. Something more than 70 or 80 years on planet earth. Something more than being born, living, dying, and then being buried in the ground. “

Sometimes we talk about a “God-shaped vacuum” inside the human heart. I believe there is also a “heaven-shaped vacuum,” a sense that we were made for something more than this life. We were made to live forever somewhere. In a real sense we were made for heaven.

God made us with this longing to spend forever and ever with him in heaven and gives us hints of just what that eternity looks like, now.  

That is why I think the most powerful evidence of heaven is the glimpses we get of it here and now. In our everyday lives. We long for it and are provided with glimpses meant to satisfy us, give us hope and draw us closer.

The smell of a lilac bush, the taste of a ripe peach, the majesty of a mountain range. The colors of a late fall sunset, the first cry of a newborn baby, the hush of a loved one’s last breath.
The stillness of sleeping children after a full day, the snuggle of a furry, four-legged friend, the long, sticky hug of a grandbaby.
A cool breeze in July, a warm fire in January, a dear friend at the door.

All Divine clues of what’s next. Heaven. Why do I wonder?



I leave you with a reflection from Jean, one of our faithful Firstfruits friends, on heaven.

Heaven Is a state of mind unfelt by the weight of form.
In its ecstasy it hurries me towards joy unless I procrastinate.
The sea of its beauty opens up and the wave dances
in the knowing,
 that Source cannot be ignored or disrespected.
Its power is so incomprehensible that the wave disappears.
In that allowing,

Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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