During one of our “spending time” episodes, Elijah blurted, “Tatay, when will Jesus come back?” I was taken aback before responding “I don’t know, Anak!” Oh well, I learn to not assume knowing everything just to impress my kids. Nonetheless, that innocent question had me reflecting in the subsequent days. When will Jesus really come back? Will He come back during my lifetime?
Reflecting on the answers, led me to further questions. What will Jesus say to me when He comes back during my lifetime? While I “go up” or be “left behind”? How about my friends and loved ones? A more pressing question would be: what if He has yet to return in my lifetime? Will I see Jesus in the afterlife? I know He is real and alive but will I “really see him”?
I remember one of the preachings we heard was about destination. The pastor told the congregation that intention does not determine one’s destination; direction does. He goes on to say that a person may have the purest of intention to go to a certain place but unless that person travelled the way going there, he will never reach that destination. To this, I absolutely agree. If I want to go to Baguio and have all the good intentions to go there yet travelled to South Luzon Express Way going to Batangas, I cannot expect to end up in Baguio, right? I may sincerely desire, with the purest of intentions, all the good stuff about Baguio; the cold weather, strawberries (and lots of it) and sceneries but unless I travel the way going there, I will never personally experience any of those.
One of the easiest thing to discuss to my children is describing heaven….as how the Bible describes it. Tips for parents, if you want your little kids glued to your stories, fill it with lots of descriptions that will stimulate their imagination. Whose imagination won’t be tickled by a place described as having many mansions, streets made of gold that shines as clear as glass, a city that does not need light (for God’s glory is the light) and the waters are as bright as the crystal? I tried describing it once to Elijah and he immediately (and innocently) uttered “I want to go there!”If it is even possible to create a replica of a heaven that is so close to the real thing, we will indeed be so eager to go there… maybe just not today 🙂 !
When we went to Hongkong Disneyland a few years ago, we realized that a day or two was not enough to fully enjoy its attractions. Part of the reason would be the long queue for their rides and other features. The place is huge! I told Elijah that heaven is so much better than Disneyland. I went on to say that heaven is far better than what we can see anywhere. He then gets pumped up and more excited to see Jesus!
Heaven is our aspired destination. For those “mature in the faith”, they see heaven as heaven, not because of its “attractions” but because of the person who is there – our Saviour and Creator, Jesus Christ. All of a sudden, life is not meaningless. Life is no longer purposeless. Life becomes a road that will either lead us to the destination we desire or somewhere else. Life becomes a series of decisions, the outcome of which will determine our final rest. All of a sudden, where we are going matters.
I have been homeschooling Elijah for three years already. By God’s grace, I want to do the same to our other kids. We always remind ourselves that at Elijah’s age, values and character development is primordial while academics is secondary. His values and character will determine his performance later on. The way his mind is being set and his heart being shaped is aligned with that objective. I realized that life is so similar to it. The decisions we make in life determines our after life. That decision guarantees our destination. Consequently, our destination serves as our guide to live in a certain way. It becomes our life purpose.
I first introduced the idea of salvation to Elijah last year after he asked me how we can be assured of going to heaven. I explained it to him in a way he can easily understand while keeping him interested and without compromising doctrinal truths. Elijah said he wants to become an engineer when he grows up and so I explained salvation in the following manner:
*Heaven is like a big mansion where God lives. All of the best stuffs are there and we will all be amazed of what is in store for those who can get to the mansion. (HEAVEN)
*The problem however is that the road going to that mansion is broken and none of us can fix it. (SIN)
*Jesus, the Greatest Engineer of all time, made the only road that can help us go to the mansion. (CROSS)
*The people who can travel that road are those with car stickers that Jesus gave because they believe in Him and Jesus became their friend. (car stickers= seal of the HOLY SPIRIT)
*So if a person wants to go the mansion, he has to be sure that Jesus becomes his friend by believing that Jesus is the Greatest Engineer and that the road He built is the way to the mansion. (FAITH ON THE SAVING WORKS OF JESUS)
And that folks, is how I narrated a salvation story to a 6-year-old (at that time) child. I challenged my son to become a friend of Jesus by believing in Him and obeying His commandments… which can only be found in the Bible. So he has to read his bible. Subtly, I enticed him to do his own devotions everyday.
This past few months, we witnessed the demise of well know personalities: one was an OPM legend and icon (his daughter was our “Kumare” to our third son), the second was a foreign ballad legend whose songs I also grew up listening to and the last was a business tycoon whose business establishments was always a part of our family’s weekend itinerary. Their legacy was well engraved in the hearts of their supporters (myself included), relatives and loved ones. Nonetheless, I believe that as far those personalities are concerned, none of their accomplishments in life matters at this time. The only thing that matters is where they are right now, which is a result of that single decision they made during their lifetime. Which way did they choose to take? The road to the mansion? Or somewhere else? It serves as a reminder for all of us…. Where we are going matters so much in this life…
Jesus said ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). My wife and I, gladly decided to take that way. We are teaching our children to do the same.