I believe there are two sides to the phenomenon known as death,this side where we live, and the other side where we shall continue to live.
- Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
I think most of us probably never stop wondering about heaven. It is natural to ponder the unknown and to have some anxiety about what we have not yet experienced.
God’s assurances should bring us a great deal of comfort—and they do—but being human, we are always looking for more. In his great mercy, God allows people to have experiences of being near death and then coming back to tell us about it. Today more than ever people are willing to share their experiences and those of loved ones, and that is wonderfully helpful.
An 89-year-old veteran of the Royal Air Force wrote to me recently. He had questions to ask as well as stories to tell. In his past, he had heard about a man, close to death, who could not or would not stop screaming. He fought so hard to stay alive—and he did, but it left everyone wondering what he was so afraid of. That story stayed with him.
Years later, a very dear friend of his was having a pacemaker inserted. During the procedure he had a near-death experience. He said that he saw a white city so beautiful it took his breath away. It was serene and peaceful and he did not want to return to life as he knew it. After this experience, the man never feared death again and lived happily to be 90 years old.
The veteran asked if I had anything to share that would better prepare him for that inevitable day. The answer to that is always to pray, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us each day and to rest in the understanding that God made us and loves us and wants us home with him for all eternity.