Ben has decided that he wants to die.
This son of mine, who lives with a trust I aspire to….he believes in heaven, and can’t wait to get there.
Why do I find this disturbing? I’ve watched friends hold onto life with a white-knuckled grip, desperate for healing to come here on earth, grasping for a few more years before death arrives (and death always arrives, no matter our attempts to deny it). Ben, however, is ready to go.
My boy has always been up for an adventure.
Death is something that we ignore or fear, believing that it won’t visit us until we are old and frail and out of options. Have we forgotten the unending pleasure and splendor and love that heaven offers? Or, if we’re honest, do we not really believe it? Death, after all, does not allow us to hedge our bets. It is an all-in proposition.
Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Read that again: To die is gain!
Ben has lost a few people that he loved over the past couple of years. He has cried in churches and at gravesites. He typically can’t comprehend what he can’t touch or see or hasn’t experienced, and yet somehow he understands that death is the doorway to something wonderful, and he wants to be next in line.
I think that Ben understands death to be a little like coming home from work. Every day, after removing his boots and taking his lunch box to the kitchen, he goes down to his room to change. I hear him call out to his invisible friends: “Home!” And then they answer, “Ben! You’re home!” I can easily imagine Ben entering heaven, healed and whole, calling out “Home!” and hearing Jesus and myriads of angels cheering, “Ben! You’re home!”
I read Isaiah 35 this week, which describes our joy at entering heaven: “and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Can you hear the laughter? The songs of joy? This is our destiny. The end is the beginning. A party is waiting! Ben is ready. Are you?