I read a book this weekend called Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. My friend highly recommended it to me, and I have to admit. I was reticent to read it. Maybe I’m jaded by endless bookshelves filled with all kinds of claims about Jesus and heaven. Maybe I’m just jaded by life’s circumstances. Regardless of my cynicism, I read the book. In about 3 hours. I’m a quick reader, but I couldn’t put this book down.
If I had to condense the message of the book down to one sentence, it would be, “God loves His children.” I’m sure that you are wide-eyed with wonder at that assertion, wondering if I just stepped out from a rock under which I’ve been hiding since I professed Christ as my Saviour.
The scales of cynicism were torn off of my eyes because of the story of a little boy.
I live in a very hard city. Most days I am convinced that Philadelphia was ironically named the city of brotherly love. If you walk the streets of this city, it makes NYC seem like a walk through the daisies. The longer I live here, the harder my heart has become. It is increasingly easy to scoff at the homeless man who daily demands my loose change, to tell the solicitors from Planned Parenthood, Save the Children, and a myriad of other charities where they can stick their petitions.
But, I read the story of a little boy who almost died, who claims to have seen Jesus face to face, and all of a sudden some of the hardness that has become the ground of my heart started to break apart. I started to feel again.
People don’t really care how much you know. People need to know how much you care. I can go into a deep theological debate with someone over the deity of Christ, the triune God, eschatology, dichotomy vs trichotomy, but in the end, all that matters is one thing. God cares about His children. God doesn’t care if you are gay or straight, black or white, male or female, Muslim or Catholic or Baptist or Jewish. God loves everyone on planet Earth enough to have died for you. God loves you so much that He made a way–through Jesus and Jesus alone–for every person to enter into heaven. He loves you so much that He’s given you the option not to love Him back and spend eternity in Hell. Yes, it breaks His heart, but He doesn’t force His love upon you. He bestows it upon you.
In our world, and in my city in particular, no one really cares how much I know. They want to know how much I care. How much do you care?