Heaven or Hell…Our Choice?

After Trey died, my friend Keith Cochran (and youth minister at the time) gave me a book Heaven by Randy Alcorn that I have been reading. It was a book that his wife, Bretta, read after her father died. It’s not that either of us have any doubts of where our loved ones are, it’s just that we want to know MORE about where they are. Think of it this way, if one of your family members moved across the country, wouldn’t you want to know about the city to where they were moving? I would think so. I would think you would ask about the schools, the house market, the climate and season changes, the traffic, the population, and many more interesting facts.

For someone who we love so, so dearly, it’s sometimes just not enough to know that they have gone to heaven. John 14 is a great example of Jesus telling his disciples about what would happen to him after the crucifixion. John 14:1-4 and 6 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”  Some translations will use “in my Father’s house are many MANSIONS”.  I can see Trey kicked up in a mansion.  That’s just the point.  I know where he is, but I’m not exactly sure what he is doing.  That is what this book helps us understand.

As much as I want to comprehend what is going on in heaven, I also know the scripture says in Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways are indeed higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  In the book is a quote by Francis Schaeffer, “The Christian is the really free man–he is free to have imagination.  This too is our heritage.  The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”  In some ways, this gives me peace as the book goes on to say, “One day soon you will be home–for the first time.  Until then, I encourage you to meditate on the Bible’s truth’s about heaven. May your imagination soar and your heart rejoice.”

Trey is in heaven because as he said in his testimony that was filmed in May one year ago, he accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized.  He KNEW there was only one way to heaven and that was through salvation.  Did he have rough days from the time he was saved? I can tell you most definitely yes.  But he always came back to Christ.  That is the difference between someone saved and a sinner.  Because we are sinners, we are not entitled to enter God’s presence.  We cannot enter heaven as we are.

The book says, “Heaven is not our default destination.  No one goes there automatically.  Unless our sin problem is resolved, the only place we will go is our true default destination…Hell.”

This is where I believe it IS our choice.  If we are born as sinners, we have the CHOICE to receive Christ and enter into the presence of God where He has prepared a place for us.  Why would we not want to be there?  In Hell, Christ says the unsaved “will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  I think of Hell like a cancer, it is a pain that will continue to eat you alive with no relief.  What is worth that?

Last year, so many were “changing.”  Trey said, it’s not for me, it’s all for God.  Did you change for God?  I know so many teens that paid lip service.  I know their friends are hurting over this.  Is Hell worth that lip service?  Is it worth tomorrow you being sent to the ER with a diagnosis?  I want to share with you an essay that a friend wrote that touched my heart.

A notification. That was all I received. A blinking icon on the top of my cell
phone that would forever change me. Six little words that would cause so much
devastation. “Trey is now healthy in heaven.” My heart broke. My breathing
ceased. My stomach sank to my feet. Tears began to fall and would not stop until
the day after his funeral. How? Why? These were the questions that would
constantly run through my mind. How could a young man the same age as me die?
Why would God allow such a thing to happen? A rare form of cancer found mostly
in an older generation took the life of my beloved friend. I was mad. I was
hurt. I was inconsolable. How was I to know then how positively this tragedy
would shape me into who I am today.

Taking things for granted can become
a second nature. As natural to do as it is for lungs to collect the air from
around us. Trey did not have this second nature. He lived his life enjoying
every God-given day, for he never knew which would be his last. No one knows
what tomorrow, or even today, holds. Climbing and falling economies, unrest
between nations, health issues, family tragedies, these circumstances can all
change in an instant. It’s easy to fall into the trap of living, governed by the
fear of tomorrow. It causes people to put up walls, hoard their love and time,
or waste these things on momentary living. Without this heartache in the
physical realm, I would never have been able to come to this realization.

“I just pray that His will be done, because I know I’m going to be
okay.” And so it was. Every day for his short 15 years on this earth, Trey lived
to glorify God. He realized that though his cancer may win the battle, God would
win the war. Thus, Trey decided no matter what, he could not be defeated.
Neither can I. I have had a series of ups and down throughout my life, and until
this revolution, I had never had a positive outlook on the outcome of a tragic
situation. Trey taught me how to. He was the light that broke through my
darkness.

Now, sitting outside while the warm summer breeze blows
through my hair, feeling the tingle of the sun reaching down to touch my
sun-kissed skin, I know he is with me. No matter where I go in life, where God
takes me, I will always have this. The absolution of Trey’s life that has now
become mine.

Thank you Amandalyn Abney.  Thank you for remembering Trey, for living a Godly life, and telling a story in such beautiful words.  God desires for all His children to be with Him in heaven.  He did give us the choice of free will.  That’s why satan tries so desperately to tempt us.  There are times he KNOWS he can succeed.  We need to be prayed up, with our armour ready, and rebuke satan at every turn in order to be ready for Jesus to call His own.  I look forward to that day.  I can’t tell you how much I am learning from reading this book and researching the scripture.

I think this scripture sums up what I am trying to say – Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that HE IS, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

As I think about the kids getting out of school and I mentioned in a prayer today on Instagram, it comes down to making wise choices.  If you have made wrong choices, there is still time to right the wrong.  If you have made no choice at all, God has never moved.  He is still waiting for you.

Trey knew before the doctors walked in…and he is….Healthy in Heaven.

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