Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
One of the most meaningful books I have read recently was a 207-page book printed in America called 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Baptist Pastor Don Piper.
My wife bought this book and was very impressed by it, and I asked to read it after she had finished. It’s a fascinating account by Don Piper of a serious car accident that happened in January 1989 when he died at the scene. He was driving home after being part of a convention, and a truck from a prison farm swerved on his side of the road and hit his car. Paramedics reached the scene within minutes and declared him dead. There was no pulse, and he sustained horrific injuries.
A Short Visit to Heaven
But the remarkable thing is that Don Piper went to Heaven for 90 minutes until a colleague came to him and prayed for him, and his pulse returned. He had come back from the dead and told in vivid detail what Heaven was like. It’s the most remarkable story of standing in front of a brilliantly coloured gate and the crowd of people who rushed towards him.
They were shouting, smiling and praising God. He felt they were his celestial welcoming committee, at heaven’s gate. He recognised his grandfather Joe Kulberth, who called him ‘Donnie’ and he was embraced by him. He saw a friend from childhood who had died at 19 years in a car accident. He slipped his arm around him, and everything felt blissful and perfect. He spotted two of his old Sunday-School teachers and family members who welcomed him. “I had never felt such powerful embraces or saw such radiant light,” he recalls. And then he heard the most beautiful music he could explain. Many of the old hymns and choruses he heard, along with hundreds of songs he didn’t know. There were no sad songs—only songs of praise and worship.
Don Piper’s wonderful experience of Heaven stopped when he came to life in the crumpled wreck of his car. He had serious injuries which took years of rehabilitation in hospital. He speaks at conferences and retreats and appears on television. Many people have been greatly helped and enriched by meeting Don, and if you read the book yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Our True Citizenship Is in Heaven
People think that Heaven is just a fairy story, but the Bible tells us it’s a real place. Minister and author Bill Hybels once said, “We’re so wrapped up in the present we rarely think about eternity”. And that’s true.
But we need to consider it sometime. The Old Testament verse in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CEV) says, “…he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future”. Or an older version says “He has put eternity in the hearts of men”.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
There’s something in us that feels there has to be more than life. We’re all going to die, and where will we spend eternity? Jesus came to die for our sins and prepare a home for us in Heaven. He said in John: “There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so.” (John 14:2 – GNT).
God’s Word also says: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”. (Philippians 3:20-21 – NIV)
It’s natural to wonder what Heaven will be like. But something more important needs to be said. Jesus offers the only way to Heaven, because of his sacrificial death on the Cross. That’s why Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father, but by me”. So our citizenship is not of this world—our true citizenship is in Heaven. Earth is not our real home. We are just passing through.
Our problem is we are attached to this world. We don’t want to leave here. But one day we will be forced to. Heaven is our true home. It is our eternal destiny in Christ.