When My 4-Year-Old Said She’d Rather Be in Heaven and My Heart Stopped Cold

What if We Were Like Little Children?

A few days ago I was driving the car while my 4-year-old daughter was sitting in her car seat. Out of the blue she said to me, “Mommy, I want to go to Heaven while I’m 4.” For a split second my heart stopped. I could not imagine what I would do or how I would respond if God took her away while she was 4. Of course, I did not let on to her that mommy was wrestling with deep thoughts concerning the implications of her statement. Of course I did not want to destroy the blessed hope that she has of going to be with Jesus in Heaven. I simply smiled and responded, “That’s nice, baby.”

Did she understand the gravity of her statement? Here’s the thing, I think she did. I think she understood that even in this life where all of her needs are met, where she gets some of the things that she wants, where she has two parents living in her home who love her, where she regularly attends and enjoys learning at school and church, and where she has cousins and friends that she likes playing with, I believe that she understands that Jesus has something better to offer on the other side and she looks forward to being in Heaven with him.

Is this why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14-19)?

He followed the statement in Luke 18:16-17 with, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Jesus’ words are true. He does want us to come to him like little children. I pray that I never blind my child or offer her so much that she treasures her life here on earth more than the eternal life that awaits her in Heaven. I pray that I am not so blinded to my own stuff that I forget the hope and promises that await me in Heaven.

It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). Because the thought of life in Heaven is so far above my understanding, I know it is tempting to forgo thinking about my eternal home. Let us not forget that we are citizens of Heaven (Phil 3:20-21) and Heaven does await our arrival.

What a glorious day of rejoicing it will be when we get there!

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Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson (M.A. Christian Leadership) is Assistant Director of the Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a speaker and writer with over 15 years of leadership experience. Her mentoring/discipleship book (Zondervan) is coming in February 2016! Connect: official website, blogFacebook, and Twitter.