Contemplating Heaven is where my heart is at right now. In this excerpt from my novel Deception, I picture one of the characters entering Heaven:
One moment Carly Woods was awake in a world of pain. The next moment she felt herself falling to sleep. A rush of sound and light awakened her.
At first she thought she was walking through a glowing passageway. Then she realized she was being carried, effortlessly, in mighty arms.
Behind her was a ruined paradise, a wasteland waiting to be reclaimed. Ahead of her was a world of substance and light, overflowing with color. The place beckoned her to come dive into it, to lose herself and find herself in something greater than she’d ever known. In one moment, Carly Woods had moved from midnight to sunrise.
“Awesome!” she said.
“Yes,” said a deep, resonant voice above her. She turned and looked up at the rock-chiseled face of a great creature, a shining warrior, looking like a man, yet different. She’d never seen anything like him. Yet somehow she thought she’d known him for years. She sensed he was rescuing her, that his job was to carry the wounded to where they’d be made well.
“I am Tor-el, servant of Elyon, God Most High. I have served Him by watching over you each day of your life in the Shadowlands.”
“I never knew.”
“Elyon knew,” he said, the edges of his lips turning barely upward. “That is all that matters.”
She turned to look where she was going. With every step the warrior took, she saw more color, detail, and activity. She could taste and smell life. The place reached out to her, pulling her in, as a magnet pulls iron filings.
“I’m getting stronger,” Carly said, recognizing her voice, but realizing it was much fuller. She’d never liked the sound of her voice. Now she did.
“I thought my life was over. It feels like it’s just begun.”
The voice above her spoke again. “The end is behind you, little one. This is the beginning that has no end.”
People crowded against a beautiful white fence, reaching their arms toward her. She heard their applause and an enchanting laughter. The warrior put her down.
She turned and said, “Thank you, Tor-el. For everything. I... I’d like to talk more.”
“We will. There is much for you to discover in the new world and much to learn about what happened in that world. It will be my honor to guide you. But now is the time for celebration and greeting. Your welcoming committee awaits you.”
She ran toward the joy and leapt carelessly into it. The years of sickness had been but labor pains. Now she was being born into heaven.
Uncle Clarence’s father, smiling broadly, waved to her, beckoning her to come in. Standing next to him was a woman she’d seen only in pictures... Ruby Abernathy, Clarence’s mother.
It was Uncle Finney, a voice she hadn’t heard in many years. She ran toward him and threw herself into his arms. They laughed. He whispered to her. Then they danced. And as they danced, Carly caught a glimpse of a young man she didn’t know but thought she should and next to him a woman so beautiful and vibrant that she felt unworthy to speak her name.
“We’ve been waiting for you, Carly,” she said. They hugged hard. And then Carly hugged her a second time, even tighter.
“That was from—”
“Ollie,” Sharon said. “I know, sweetheart. Thank you. But there’s someone else waiting to greet you.”
Sharon bowed her knees to the ground, and bright light shone on her face. All who were around her bowed too, eyes fixed behind Carly, who turned to behold the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen.
She saw the brightness of a billion galaxies, contained in one person. She beheld a man who was God, Creator of the Universe. His face was as young as a child’s, yet His eyes had seen all that had ever been and all that ever would be. This was God Himself. He put His hands upon her shoulders. She thrilled at His touch.
“Welcome, Carly, daughter of God!” He smiled broadly, the smile of a Galilean carpenter. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master’s joy!”
He hugged her and she hugged Him back, realizing she’d felt this embrace before. She’d been sad not to marry a man on earth. But she knew now that this was her Bridegroom, the object of all her longing, the fulfillment of all her dreams. “My Jesus,” she whispered.
“My Carly,” He whispered back.
When the embrace ended, it continued, even as they stepped back to gaze upon each other.
He put out His hand to her face, and she saw on it a terrible scar. She stared at His other hand and at His feet. She fell to her knees, overcome.
He knelt beside her and looked into her eyes. She saw in Him an ancient pain that was the doorway to eternal pleasures.
“It was worth it, Carly,” He said. “For you, I would do it all again.”