On the way to soccer practice one night years ago, my then 5 year old son gazed out the car window, looked up into the sky and said, “Mom, wouldn’t it be cool if we could take a rocket ship to heaven so we could meet Jesus?”
Yeah, buddy. That would be SO COOL!
Oh how I wish it were possible. I picture Jesus waiting for that ship to land right outside the pearly gates. He’d have a huge smile on his face because. . .boys and rocketships! He’d hand my son a glass of lemonade and they’d walk and talk. I wonder what Joshua would say (maybe I don’t want to know – little boys often say the most embarrassing things!).
My kids (now ages 9 and 6) have lost both of their grandmothers so our conversations about heaven have been frequent. These heartbreaking losses have led to rich conversations about God and eternal life. Those moments are hard but I’ve come to see our talks as bittersweet examples of God’s redemptive work.
I don’t always know how to answer the investigative questions my little researchers pose but I’m learning to rely on the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom on the fly (he has a wonderful way of giving me the words when I have none of my own).
If your child has been asking questions about heaven that you aren’t sure how to answer, don’t be afraid to quickly call on your Helper when needed. And when you’re really stuck, it’s never a bad idea to say, “I’m not sure about that. Let’s look in the Bible or ask God together.” Remember, our kids don’t need us to have all the answers. They simply need to have a safe place to ask and explore together.
5 Questions Kids May Ask About Heaven (and how to answer them)
1. What is heaven like?
“But, as it is written, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
The Bible speaks of heaven in many places (most of all the book of Revelation which we can study when you’re a bit older) that provide clues as to what heaven will be like. But the truth is, no one really knows for sure. We can be sure it will be wonderful – free of sadness (Revelation 21:4) and full of joy (Psalm 16:11). What do YOU think heaven will be like? Let’s look up more Bible verses that describe heaven. (Google “Bible verses about Heaven”)
2. Does everyone go to heaven?
The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Bible is clear that we must believe in Jesus and accept his gift in order to have eternal life in heaven. This is why it is so important to tell others about God’s love and what Jesus did for us on the cross. We should share the Good News, then the rest is between God and each individual person. When we accept God’s gift, we can be secure in knowing we’ll enjoy a place with him in heaven for eternity. What a joy that will be!
3. Will we look the same in heaven?
When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, he said, “Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” Luke 24:39
There are several references in the Bible that lead us to believe we will have the same body in heaven just like Jesus did after he died and rose again. But our bodies will be a transformed and renewed version of the ones we had on Earth.
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:20-21
Heaven is a place of fulfillment. Earth is full of brokenness but heaven is God’s perfection. God has made each one of us beautifully unique. Our outward, physical appearance is a significant part of our identity. In heaven, we will be a perfect version of who we already are. Free of weakness and sickness, full of life.
4. Will we see grandma (or grandpa or. . .) in heaven?
“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17
In this passage, Paul is writing to encourage those who have lost a loved one. A few verses earlier Paul says he wants to share what will happen to those who die so we can grieve the loss with the hope of seeing our family members and friends again one day in heaven!
So, we believe we will get to see our lost loved ones again someday. We don’t know what our relationships will be like in heaven but we do know that God loves us so much. He will not keep us from experiencing the joy of those we love!
5. What will we do and eat in heaven?
Heaven will be more amazing and incredible than we could ever imagine! Again, we can’t really know exactly what heaven will be like but there are many verses in the Bible that give us clues. Since God is the maker of all things; the origin of all things joyful and creative and good, we can be sure all of our needs (food to eat, things to do) will be met in heaven.
Revelation gives us this picture of heaven. . .
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.” Revelation 22:1-2
Oh how fun it will be to play in that river and eat that yummy fruit!
Heaven is one of the great mysteries of our faith. To trust God and the goodness of his character that will be fully revealed in heaven. . .this is what our faith is all about.
In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus tells his disciples,
“You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” Matthew 13:11-12
The closer we are to Jesus, the more we’ll begin to understand all that he has waiting for us in heaven and the more we’ll trust him with our time here and now!
The brand new book, I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard (MercyMe frontman) is a sweet tool to use when talking to kids about heaven. The book follows the lyrics of the popular song and poses many more questions kids may ask about our eternal home.
What conversations are you having with your kids about heaven? What questions have your children asked?