DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: What happens to us right after we die? Do we go immediately to heaven, or are we in an unconscious state (like sleep) until the end of time? My favorite aunt (a woman of great faith) died a few months ago, and not knowing if she’s already in heaven bothers me. — K.C.
DEAR K.C.: Not all Christians agree on this issue, and I respect their sincerity. However, my own study of the Bible has convinced me that when a believer dies, he or she enters immediately into God’s presence. No evil can touch them, and they are secure and at peace forever.
I think, for example, of the Apostle Paul. He knew his life was in constant danger from those who opposed the Gospel. And yet he didn’t shrink back from death or try to flee from those who might kill him, because he knew heaven was real, and if he died he would be in the presence of his Savior forever.
Once in prison he wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.… I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21,23).
Take comfort in God’s promise that death is not the end, but ahead of us is heaven if we belong to Christ. We were not meant for this world alone, and by his death and resurrection Christ removed the one barrier that separates us from eternal life, the barrier of our sins.
Christ’s promise is for you, and for all (including your aunt) who put their faith and trust in him: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Make sure of your commitment to Christ, and thank him that your aunt is now safely in his presence forever.
© Tribune Media Services 5/22