Ask the average kid about heaven, and you’ll hear an array of wild answers. Heaven is a place where they’ll eat all the chocolate chip pancakes they want, play endlessly with Chase, the PAW Patrol pup, and ride the longest waterslide in the universe. To most kids, heaven is one massive Make-A-Wish Foundation.
However, ask a Christian kid the same question, and you’ll get a safe and predictable response. Too embarrassed to mention favorite foods and vacation spots, they’ll tell you—rightly—that heaven is where they’ll see Jesus and their family members who’ve died. But beyond that, most children aren’t certain of the facts. They just hope heaven won’t be too boring.
Eternity of Boredom?
They need not worry. If heaven were all about eating what we want and doing whatever we like, it would be tiring and repetitive. But the enchantment of heaven is that there will be a total lack of self-absorption. It won’t be like the movie Beaches, in which a self-focused woman says to her friend, “Enough talk about me . . . let’s talk about you. Tell me, what do you think about me?”
Most children aren’t certain of the facts. They just hope heaven won’t be too boring.
Heaven would only be boring if we were going to stop and look at ourselves to see how we were doing, how much fun we were having, whether or not we liked this place, or how we were sounding and performing. That kind of self-consciousness will be totally foreign in heaven. And when it comes to getting all the cool stuff on a kid’s bucket list, it won’t be the Day of little Teddy, Jesse, or Caitlin. It won’t be the Day of Joni. It will be the Day of Christ.
How do we pry a child’s focus off himself and onto the wondrous excellencies of his Savior, Jesus? How do we convince her that Bible truths about heaven are far more captivating than the myths?
Whiff of Heaven’s Joy
I’m passionate about answering those questions and showing boys and girls the breathtaking, heart-stopping truths about the amazing world to come. I got that passion when I first learned to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” and “set [my mind] on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1–2).
It happened one night long ago when a friend pulled up a stool next to my wheelchair, opened his Bible, and took me through a study on heaven. Revelation 21–22 describes an eternal state in which sin is totally absent. When I caught a whiff of heaven’s joy—especially in passages highlighting glorified hearts that would never sin—my soul burned as bright as the coals in our fireplace.
From the Bible, I learned my praise of Jesus would be utterly effortless and unending. Everything in me will want to keep worshiping the Lord forever—I simply will not be able to stop my glowing praise for him, even if I wanted to (and who’d want to do that?!). That night with my friend, my amazement about heaven swelled so large within me that he pushed me in my wheelchair outside onto the front lawn where we happily sang and howled at the midnight moon.
Minus the howling at the moon, I’m convinced heaven will feel like that. And I want children to have that kind of effervescent joy about heaven, which is why I like to explain it as a party.
Yes, it will be a party. Really, wouldn’t you kick up your heels to see pain, sorrow, and sin disappear in your rearview mirror? If you were as functionally disabled as I am, wouldn’t you look forward to jumping and dancing before the Throne?
Help the young ones in your life to imagine the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Encourage them to pull up a chair at that banquet table. Their jaws will drop when they read what’s on the menu from Isaiah 25:6–8:
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine. . . . And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples. . . . He will swallow up death forever.
It’ll be a feast like nothing ever experienced on earth, a feast where the Chef himself, Jesus, consumes the shroud of sin and swallows up death forever.
No more sin or death? These are basic realities that kids can begin to grasp, so encourage them to talk about their ideas of a world with no sin or death (it’s an uncomfortable topic, but so important).
Help them to grasp God’s idea of joy (because heaven is all about joy). Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The next time your child’s heart is filled with joy—especially if it’s related to the things of Christ—help them to connect their emotions with heaven. Because joy is heaven’s bottom line. When a child finally grasps who Jesus is and what he has done, she will associate her joy with heaven, a place where she’ll get happier and happier!
Throughout the ages, Jesus has been sending out invitations to this Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party. That’s even the name of a book I wrote about heaven for children. And I wrote it to do what this article is encouraging you to do—help kids shun the myths then focus on the truths of heaven. Let’s get young ones excited about seeing their name on the invitation list, Jesus’s glorious Book of Life!
Joy is heaven’s bottom line.
As with any invitation, it requires a response. I want boys and girls to RSVP to God’s forever-party invite and prepare themselves for that wonderful Day when Jesus will be crowned as the Undisputed Lord and Champion of the Universe. Kids will be excited about extending invitations to this amazing forever party to their friends and family members. Let’s pack this party out! Let’s show boys and girls how to “seek the things that are above” (Col. 3:1–2). So, get their hearts hungry for heaven, the home of righteousness . . . a glorious home where the party will never end!
The Gospel Coalition