There's a country song that I hear from time to time titled, "If Heaven wasn't so far away." It's a beautiful song describing what the song writer would do if heaven wasn't so far away: he'd pack up the kids and go for the day and visit grandpa and others gone on before.
I like it, I really do. However, I must say, it errs in the major thought of heaven being so far away.
Think about it for a minute ... Heaven for the Christian is one heartbeat away. Heaven is one breath away. Heaven for those who die instantly was a blink away. Heaven can happen in an instant.
The Bible is clear that to be absent from the body is to be present with the lord. For some of us, it seems eons before we will see our loved ones again, but the book of James says that life is like a vapour, it appeareth for a little time and then vanishes away.
I heard a story of a little boy who was dying. He was frightened and told his mother so. His mother excused herself from him to the kitchen in order to have a good cry. She cried out to the lord to give her something that would comfort her young son. The answer came immediately.
She returned to his bedside and stroked his fevered brow. She began, "Do you remember when you would fall asleep in the car on a very long trip?" The lad shook his head with tears still forming.
His mother continued, "When you woke up, you were in your own bed, right?" Again,, his head nodded.
"How do you think you got in your own bed?" She continued.
His face looked perplexed, but then he answered, "Oh, you or daddy carried me here."
His mother said, "You went to sleep in the car and when you awakened you were in your own home ... safe, sound and happy. When you close your eyes in death, Jesus and his angels come and they carry you to your new home. When you open your eyes, you will be in your home where you will feel right at home, happier and safer than you've ever been."
The child relaxed, smiled and closed his eyes in death. Heaven is another home, and not so far away.
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a counselor with Cornerstone Christian Counseling in Elkins. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)