My friend, Louis, and I have the greatest conversations. We call them our combine talks because many of them take place during harvest season as we cross the golden fields together. I can talk with him about almost anything but often our deepest discussions centre on our faith. More than once Louis has asked me whether we’ll know one another in heaven. I am absolutely, totally convinced that we will. I don’t know what we’ll look like or how we’ll recognize each other but I have no doubt that we will. Louis is a little less certain.
Once, not simply because I like being right but also because I’d really like Louis to have the same confidence and peace of mind about the subject as I have, I searched the scriptures for evidence that I was right. I have to admit that I couldn’t find as clear an answer as I would have liked. The best I could come up with was 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.“ I realize that this probably refers to us knowing and being known by Christ but I hope it also means that we will know one another.
I also discovered that King David shared my thoughts on the matter. 2 Samuel 12:22-23 says, “After the death of his son, David answered “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Like me, David clearly expected to know his child when he got to heaven.
I recently read a fascinating new book, “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo. It’s the astounding story of a little boy who emerges from emergency surgery with remarkable stories of a visit to heaven. I’m as skeptical as the next person when I hear stories of near death and out of body experiences but this one is simple, heart warming and surprisingly biblical. Before I finished reading it, I knew that Louis had to read it too. He’s not much of a reader but he finished it in less than two days! Once he got started, he said, he couldn’t put it down.
According to the book, we will indeed know one another. It also answers another question that I’ve long wondered about. What happens to children when they go to heaven? As I see it, there are three possibilities. Either they remain children forever, an option that doesn’t sound very satisfactory to me; they’re instantly full grown when they enter heaven which doesn’t seem fair either; or they enter as a child and continue to grow up just as they would have here. In “Heaven is for Real” Colton Burpo meets his miscarried sister who no one had ever told him about. She isn’t a baby, certainly not a preemie, she’s older than he is. Clearly, she’s growing up in heaven!
Our Janina left us when she was five. I’ve always known that I would see her again. I look forward to the day when I cross over to the other side and a beautiful young woman greets me with “Hi, Mom!”