Thursday, November 28, 2013

Forever: When I Knew Heaven was Real

I spent three summers as a Junior Counselor (JC) at Camp Lakeview - the camp I had grown up attending and loving. In my first summer as a JC, I was really growing in my faith as a personal relationship. Having grown up in the church and with a Christian family I had known "the basics" my whole life. I knew that God made the world in 6 days, I knew the Old Testament Sunday School Favorites (Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, Jonah) and most importantly I knew that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. I knew that he died on the cross for me - for you - and that because He paid the ultimate price we are able to live in Heaven with Him forever.

But was this heaven real?

In my young life, my great-grandparents and a boy from school had gone Home. I remembered bits and pieces of their funerals and what adults had said to me. "It's okay. They are in heaven." But that heaven part never felt real or personal to me. I figured it would be where I would go...someday because I believed in God and Jesus Saved Me.

Then, one summer night, while our JC group led the campfire devotions we sang this song:

The nails in Your hands
The nails in Your feet
tell me how much You love me.
The thorns on Your brow
They tell me how
You bore so much shame to love me.

And when the Heavens pass away
All Your scars will still remain
And forever they will say
Just how much You love me.

Forever my love
Forever my heart
Forever my life is Yours
It's Yours

I had sung this particular song dozens of times as a camper, in the months away from camp, and now as as JC. I loved the way it sounded musically. But that night, standing by the tree in front of Lakeview's campfire it hit me: Heaven is real. It's where I am going. Forever. 

I closed my eyes and for the first time ever I really sang the words: "Forever my love. Forever my heart. 
Forever my life is Yours. It is Yours." 
Forever. My. Life. Is. Yours. 
I recommitted my heart to the Lord that night, forever. 

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