Since we're being honest these past few weeks about faith and doubt and believing, let me say something that may shock you (or perhaps it will bring comfort to your heart):
Heaven is the thing I am least certain about when it comes to God.
Yeah, I said it. The thing that so many Christians stake their entire belief on, this promise of eternity with God, is the thing I'm least certain about. It's the thing I have the most questions about. It's the thing that threatens to rock my faith more than anything else, even evil.
I'm not sure if it's because God spent so very little time actually talking about it or what the reason is, but there's something visceral in my being that recoils if I try to confidently say that one day, I'm going to live forever with God.
Maybe, because as I write that sentence, I become aware - maybe it's because that sentence convicts me about how often I'm failing to live with God right now.
But the other truth is this - eternity with God is just not a cornerstone of my faith. It's not the most important thing to me. In fact, it's something I could be absolutely wrong about, something I could be completely misunderstanding about what God is actually saying - something that turns out to be nothing like any of us expect it to be - and it wouldn't change my faith at all.
If tomorrow, I died, and there was no heaven and there was no eternity and there was just darkness in a grave while my body rots away, then for me, that doesn't change anything. That doesn't change the God that I believe in or the goodness of Him or how much He loves me.
See, my faith can't wait. And it wasn't made to.
We weren't meant to stake all our hope on tomorrow; the Bible tells us that God is with us always, and that means today. Jesus came to walk among us now, not later. The miracle of the incarnation is that God is here. And that Kingdom of God that Jesus talked so much about? It's now.
The Christian faith is living and active, just like the Word of God (Hebrews says this). The abundant life that Jesus promised is this one, if we'll just follow Him.
This is something that I've struggled with and wrestled with for a really long time, precisely because the questions that I have about eternity are so foundation-shaking if I accept the kind of faith that too many Christians have settled for. But the conclusion that I've come to is this: loving God and being loved by Him changes my life now. It makes the life I have today worth living. It makes me a better human being - more loving, more compassionate, more peaceful, more steadfast. And that's what it's supposed to do.
And if that's all it ever does? It's worth it, no matter what lingering questions remain.
I don't know what it means to "never die." God didn't say a whole lot about what that looks like. But He promised quite a bit about what it means to "truly live." And if I spend all my days trying to learn that, then I think that's what God wants of me. That's the promise I'm living into.