Do you have friends in your life that you just can’t live without? When you’re together you never run out of things to talk about, like if you took a cross-country road trip you’d get to your destination and proclaim, “Wow, that was quick!” And, when you’re not together, you’re texting each other with throughout the day. I’m talking about those friends that require long good-byes because you keep starting new conversations and you’ve got more words to speak than time available.
Have I got news for you: You never really have to say good-bye to friends or family who are in Christ. That’s right. For Believers, there is no end to the friendships and fellowship we enjoy with our loved ones in this life.
As we cast our eyes on Heaven, there are only things to look forward to and nothing to dread. First and foremost, I cannot wait to see Jesus face-to-face – I tear up just thinking about it. I can’t wait for God to reveal every truth to me – all He’s created, orchestrated and provided. I can’t wait for Him to tell me why He chose me to live during this time period when He had every day on the calendar since Eden at His disposal. I want to hear and see it all. I can’t wait for the Holy Spirit to show me every time He whispered in my ear. I know I will fall face-down in worship. And even if Heaven promised nothing else, that would be enough. Just being among the Holy Trinity is more than enough and would leave me wholly satisfied.
But Heaven is the ultimate, “Wait, there’s more!” While we cannot begin to imagine what Heaven will be like exactly, we’ve been given some clues. Today I’m not going to focus on angels, pearly gates or streets of gold. Instead, let’s look at one of the most asked questions when it comes to Heaven: Will we know our loved ones in Heaven?
Randy Alcorn, author of the book, Heaven, has said, “We can’t take material things with us when we die, but we do take our friendships to Heaven, and one day they’ll be renewed.” Which means, they will be even better than they are now – no misunderstandings, hurt feelings or tensions between us because we won’t have the baggage of our sinful nature.
Alcorn adds, “We don’t grieve as those who have no hope. You’ve lost a loved one, of course you’re going to grieve, but you haven’t really lost them, because when you’ve lost something, you don’t know where it is. But if it’s a loved one who knows Jesus, you know where they are, it’s just that you are separated from them. So, you haven’t lost them, your relationship has been interrupted, but is has not been terminated.”
Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, says of the question regarding seeing our loved ones in Heaven, “(We will) not only have an intimate personal relationship with the Lover of our Souls, but with those we loved in this life as well.”
We will not be nameless souls who lack identity. Heaven is not a faceless mob of people. On the contrary, we will maintain our identity, but in perfect, glorified form – no flaws, faults or ailments. Scripture is woven with comfort that we will see, know and fellowship with those we knew in this life if they had a saving relationship with Christ. We will also enjoy fellowship with those we never got to meet in this life.
- When King David’s infant son died, he declared, “Can I bring him back again? I will go to him,” (2 Samuel 12:23). David knew he would recognize his son in Heaven.
- In Matthew 8:11, Jesus declared as he prophesied about the Gentile response to the gospel, “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven.” There will be fellowship not only with our loved ones, but those we never had an opportunity to meet.
- Peter, James and John knew who Moses and Elijah were at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13), even though Moses and Elijah had been dead for centuries. There were no introductions and there is no way for the disciples to have seen pictures or know what Moses and Elijah looked like, yet they knew exactly who they were. The recognition was immediate and clear.
- Describing the Lord’s appearing and the resurrection of the saints who have died, Paul lets us know that Believers will be together, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord,” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, emphasis mine).
Heaven will be like one big family reunion. One big slumber party. An eternity of friendship and fellowship. And once you’ve RSVP’d to Jesus, you’re in the Book of Life and on the best guest list ever created.
Not only am I excited to spend eternity with those people whom I’ve known and loved, I’m also looking forward to meeting family I never knew in this life. I’m giddy to meet family members from generations that go back farther than Ancestry.com can reach. And I can’t wait to spend eternity meeting every child of mine through every generation. In Heaven, they will know me immediately as the matriarch that prayed for their salvation knowing I would never meet them on Earth. May every child of mine from now until Jesus comes back be accounted for in Heaven.
I also look forward to fellowship with people I never knew, but their impact on my life is undeniable. I can’t wait to sit down for loooong chats with authors and speakers who have impacted my relationship with Jesus. George Washington, Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, Corrie ten Boom and every other person Eric Metaxas has written about (or will write about) will be on my must-meet list. John Bunyan, C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, John Eldredge, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer (I’ve actually met her, but we need a do-over because I totally lost my words when I was face-to-face with her greatness) will have their perfect Heavenly patience tested as I will be following them around on the regular. I can’t wait to thank them for using the gifts God gave them to bless me and deepen my relationship with Jesus.
And all of my sweet Jesus-loving friends I don’t get to see often due to geography and/or time, we will be bound by neither of those constraints in Heaven and I look forward to an eternity of making up for lost time. What an absolute joy that will be!
The gift of Christian fellowship is eternal. It’s not among the “things” that get left behind here on this Earth for moths and rust to destroy. Fellowship in this life is a sweet foretaste of Heaven. There is more and there is better in Heaven, but we get a glimpse here on earth through friends who make this life richer.
I was looking for a great quote to close this post. Perhaps scripture, a poet or maybe a theologian? Nope, the last word goes to the one and only Robert Earl Keen. He’s provided the soundtrack to so many of my friendships (and a few cross-country road trips), so it’s only natural that he should get the last word about what Believers can expect with fellowship in Heaven:
“The road goes on forever and the party never ends.” Praise God.
Tag or send this to someone you CAN’T WAIT to continue your fellowship with in Heaven.