Before my 2015 ends, I had this thought in my mind for quite a while,
What if I die tomorrow, am I ready for it?
Well, if I were to really evaluate myself, I will say, “yes, I’m ready for it and I’m just excited to move on to the next journey after my life on earth — that is, the afterlife. Yep, you read it right. I’m excited and I’m quite looking forward to it.”
You may be asking, “Aren’t you thinking about your family? Or, thinking of your loved ones if you die, what will they do with your funeral? How about your assets? Who will get it? Do you even think what will they feel, especially your parents if they realized you died ahead of them? They will really feel shattered.”
I had this thought going on in my mind when I had this conversation with my mom. I said things I should not have said, like, when we’ll be away, she should feel happy because we (her daughters) are definitely in a much happier place (while saying this, though I mentioned about going away meaning working in another far away place, I actually meant in my heart about dying and staying in heaven when I die). I said sorry for saying such things but I mean what I said.
So there. I believe your brows are meeting halfway your creases now and you’re just confused as ever. Let me clarify some points to you.
Nine (9) years ago, when someone asked me this question, I really had no idea where I will go when I die. I remember, I said, “Ugh, I don’t know.” Now, if you ask me that question, I’d say in “heaven”. Why? Because I believe in the only way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior; thus, giving me the right to become one of God’s children (John 1:12). When I believed that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, that He is the Son of God (John 20:31), that as the Son of God who loved His people so much that He gave His life to die on the cross (John 3:16) for the great exchange — He, as a sinless man, died on the cross and became the lamb of sacrifice in exchange so that the sins of the every person will be upon Him and His righteousness will be upon the sinners who believed in Him (Romans Chapter 3) — gives me an everlasting life (John 5:24), I knew then where I will go after my life on this earth. I knew then that my name is already written in the book of life in heaven (Hebrews 12:23) and that it will not be erased for all eternity (Revelation 3:5).
If you can see, I just <strong>believed</strong> that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and after three days, He rose again from the dead. It is all about my faith and that confidence grew when I took the time to know more about Him, shared my life with other believers and followed what Jesus said in the Scriptures even if sometimes it’s hard (1 Peter Chapter 1). That confidence that I have right now is the hope that when I die, I’d go to heaven and when judgment comes, God will have mercy on me because He will not see my sins, but He will see Jesus and His righteousness in my life.
Even if I believed in my heart and accepted Jesus Christ, life is still hard. Even though life is hard and I struggle, still, I have that hope that these troubles are preparing me for an eternal life ahead of me (John 16:33). These troubles are ways to build up my character and my hope for the eternal life (Romans 5:1-11).
I do not say I’m righteous, because I still sin (Hebrews 12:1a). I still sin and when I think of it, I know Jesus becomes sad. That’s why He tells us to run the race and be determined to look only to Him (Hebrews 12:1-2). When I sin, it’s like being a child again, having been told by my father not to run towards the deep river so I would not drown, but instead, I still took that plunge and then realized I’m drowning and should have listened to him. It’s like shouting for help and vowing never to do it again. Now, the only difference when I sin is that when I drown, I know Jesus will save me again and pull me up from that deep, cold water — drenched and chilling — and let me dry myself; giving me that towel, drying me from head to toe, all the while lovingly correcting me for the wrong I have done. When He does give me that towel and allow me to dry, it is during this time that I realize I have wronged Jesus, made Him sad, and yet He saved me because He loves me like a father loves her daughter (Proverbs 3:11-12). Because of this realization that I make a decision not to do the same mistake again and instead live a new life for Him (Hebrews 12:11).
So you see, as I live here on earth, I know that anytime my life will be taken away from me. The only difference is that when I die, I know where I’m going and I know it will be a very good place for me. Because of this knowledge, I thought to myself, “if I know that the afterlife is this good, why keep it to myself?” So there. I share that good news to other people as long as I have the opportunity. Besides, before Jesus went to heaven in front of the disciples, He told them to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20). In reality, you cannot share the good news to other people if you haven’t experienced it yourself, right? The disciples experienced Jesus in the flesh (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and in the Spirit (Acts 1:8; Acts Chapter 2).
Let us look into it this way. It is like when you buy a whitening soap from a store and after using it, you see the results. Because you see that the whitening soap really made you a shade lighter than before, you tell this good news to other people. Same with sharing about Jesus to other people. Not only did the apostles experienced the Holy Spirit, but also those who asked (Matthew 7:7) and so, they share it to people.
Another scenario on why we share about the good news: I am sick and I wanted to get well for the sake of my loved ones. I’ve tried asking for various opinions of doctors just so I will be healed; all efforts made but to no avail. I’ve traveled long and far, tried herbal medicines and all that, only to find what is that one true healing for me. Then, I find this one man, a doctor I may say, but a different one. He gives me prescription, but a different kind of prescription. He always follows up on me, checks on me when I don’t take that medicine on time and gives me advice. I then accept his prescription, take those medicines he gives me, and follow what he says. Then, as I go my own way, day by day, I realize I am healed and that I not becoming sick anymore. Because of this, I share the good news to other people who have experienced suffering like me so that they will also experience the same thing that happened to me.
Now, you know why I am looking forward to my life after earth. Well, for practical reasons, I’d be sharing some of the things I wanted my loved ones to do when I die:
>Be happy because they know that I’m going to heaven.
>> Look into the scriptures again so they know where they will go to when >> they die. Well, I really want to see my loved ones in heaven too.
>> During my funeral, I want people to wear white clothes only. It signifies purity for me.
>> I want to see white roses. Those are my favorite flowers.
>> I want people to play contemporary acoustic worship songs.
>> I want my home church in Makati conduct eulogy for me.
Why do I really share this very personal story about me? Well, since my VG leader died in that accident this 2015, I realized that what really matters is the faith we have in Jesus in whatever circumstance we experience, and in response to that faith we count it towards heaven.
Whatever dreams, whatever desires that I have — these are all given by God. I also know that when I die, everything that I leave behind will all be taken care of by my Father in heaven.