~Revelation 21:4 (NIV)~
At bedtime one evening last autumn, my son, who was five at the time, said to me, “Mommy, I haven’t been to heaven. Have you been to heaven?”
Staring into his innocent brown eyes, I shook my head. “No honey, I haven’t.”
“Did you know there’s gold streets there?” he said with a smile.
I nodded. “Yes. It’s supposed to be the most beautiful place.”
“You know you don’t hurt in heaven.”
I nodded again.
“Do you know how Papa went to heaven? One morning he died and went to heaven. He’s running on the streets.”
I fought back tears as I imagined my dad running on the golden streets of heaven. My dad had passed away two months earlier after an intense battle with cancer.
In the months since his grandpa’s death, my son has asked many questions about heaven and shared with me his understanding and thoughts of heaven. Many times, his observations have been insightful and sweet. But on a few occasions, he’s expressed his worries about those he loves dying before he does. In those moments, I give him a hug and kiss and comfort him.
Prior to my dad’s death, our family didn’t discuss heaven much. Occasionally, we would mention it when talking about a loved one who had passed away years earlier. But other than those instances, the topic of heaven didn’t come up much at our home.
During the last six months, though, that has changed. Yes, my family’s circumstances have forced us to talk about death and heaven more often. But it’s my hope that my family continues to talk about heaven. After all, Philippians 3:20 says that as believers in Jesus, “our citizenship is in heaven.”I desire for my family to reflect regularly on heaven–on God’s promises to us about heaven, how truly extraordinary this place will be, and how glorious it will be to one day be in the presence of our Almighty God.
Sharing the promises and truths in the Bible about heaven with our children can help them gain a healthy and truthful perspective of heaven, and even death. I’ve included below some ideas on ways that you can share God’s truths about heaven with your children.
Read and discuss Scriptures in the Bible about heaven with your child. Throughout the Bible, we find a treasure trove of verses telling us about heaven–that God is the Maker heaven (Psalm 115:15) , that heaven is His throne (Isaiah 66:1), of Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom of heaven (e.g., Matthew 13), and glimpses of what heaven will be like (e.g., Revelation 4, 5, and 21).
Read children’s books to your child that explain heaven in a way that’s understandable to him. Right now, I am reading Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, and I just picked up the children’s version of this book–Heaven is for Real for Kids. The children’s book tells the story of three-year-old Colton’s visit to heaven and shares beautiful images and Scripture related to heaven. I’m looking forward to reading this book to my son.
Ask your child what she thinks heaven looks like and how we get to heaven. You could even ask her to draw a picture of what she thinks heaven looks like. Share Scriptures from the Bible to answer questions she has or to help her understand what the Bible says about heaven.