“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die,” wrote Solomon 1. It seems that this matter-of-fact view of life and death was more commonplace in the past.

When children grew up in rural surroundings, they got used to seeing the cycle of life firsthand. They saw the livestock giving birth and watched their favorite farm animals pass away. The older children cared for their younger siblings and were also attentive to their grandparents, who grew more frail as the years passed.

When we listen to classic gospel hymns, it’s no wonder that a recurring theme is heaven and being with Jesus and being reunited with our loved ones. People need that comfort and hope.

One day, when I was 10 years old, I accompanied my grandfather as he was doing his chores on his little farm. I adored my granddaddy, so I never missed a chance to follow him around. While watching him get water for the cows, I heard a voice inside my heart say, “Your grandfather will be the first one in your family to die.” I had never heard an inner voice like that before, but I knew it was real; and sure enough, when I was 12, he passed away quite suddenly.

I had never thought that there could be another life after this one, but when I missed my granddad, I began to have questions. I would bicycle to the cemetery and sit by Granddaddy’s grave and wonder where he was and if he could see me. How I would have loved to have had the hope of heaven in that moment!

Having heard those words in my heart was a comfort. I didn’t really understand, but I felt that gentle voice had prepared me for the loss of my beloved granddad. I likely would have been devastated without that premonition.

Several years later, I opened my life to Christ, and that heavenly voice became my constant companion. I remember my grandfather as a man of faith, and I live with the peace that one day I will see him again.

We are just passing through this temporary world and are on our way to a place that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, [that] God has prepared for those who love him” 2. I pray we can all live our lives in preparation for heaven.

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:1–2
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:9