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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him,
And he will make your paths straight.
—Proverbs 3:5–6
 
If you look carefully at every account of a visit to heaven or, for that matter, at any honest story about an experience of the supernatural, you’ll discover a secret, very personal opportunity shining out from each one. You could call it “the right-now promise of heaven,” and it goes like this:
 
If heaven and the supernatural are that close right now,
And if God is that real and that good and that loving toward me right now,
Then I can surely live more fully and more joyfully . . . right now.

Does that promise intrigue you?

 If the “right now” promise seems far-fetched for you, it’s not. But it is an all-or-nothing proposition. Both feet in. Your life and mine today can look radically different because of the reality of heaven. Or you can decide you’re mildly intrigued by the stories . . . and walk away unchanged. If you walk, you would be deciding that every account, including mine, falls into the category of heartwarming stories—sweet, something you might even return to in the future, but not something that alters your thinking and remakes your heart and soul.
I want to show you how your life can be different because of what you’ve discovered. I want to rescue you from a sweet but ultimately unimportant story time for grown-ups.


Make no mistake, this is extremely serious business. Today, I know without a doubt that this world is separated by the thinnest of veils from the next, and that both worlds belong to God. I know now that you and I already live right next to, even inside of, eternity, and that one day, the veil between it and time—along with all its schedules, clocks, tragedies, and eons of history—will vanish. On that day, everything that happened in time will be made good, right, and beautiful by God Himself.

That’s what heaven makes abundantly clear: God’s extravagant love permeates everything and embraces everyone and all peoples, including you and me—and love will definitely win in the end!

I want to show you that the astonishing but true lessons of heaven are intended to refashion how we understand our world, here and after death, and how we relate to the divine every day. We could summarize them like this:

  • Circumstances are seen differently through the lens of heaven.
  • Death is not the end. 
  • God is love, and forgiveness sets us free.
  • Heaven is real and grace abounds.
  • God wants to be seen and shows His presence in our world through miracles.
  • God has a plan for us that is one of hope, purpose, and beauty.

In God’s time, beauty blossoms in all things.

Each of these seven life-altering lessons are contained within God’s promises that heaven is real and death is not the end, that He knows us and loves us, that He is present in our world, and that He has an all-encompassing plan for us that is one of hope. They are meant to change our way of life.

I call this transformed way of life, living with absolute trust. You and I aren’t left here on Earth to simply press on in the hope that God is true, or even to cling to a correct belief that God is true. Instead, we’re invited to lean wholly and confidently—in absolute trust—in God’s unfailing promises.

Changing what we base our life on—from hope and beliefs, to an unshakable trust in the truth of God’s promises transforms almost everything about daily life, yet most people avoid doing so. Every person is capable of making this transformational change—and thankfully, it doesn’t require a traumatic experience like mine!

The wonderful news is that the promises of heaven are meant for everyone, and they’re intended to transform how we live now in very practical ways: how we listen for God during the course of our day; how we welcome success and overcome defeat; how we make decisions; how we face challenges like the death of a loved one; how we approach our work, raise our children, interact with people around us, and pursue our dreams. And so much more.  Can you make this transformation without an out-of-body experience? Most assuredly, yes. You can wake up to the reality of God alive and active in your day, starting right now. 

 

Reprinted from 7 LESSONS FROM HEAVEN: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life COPYRIGHT © 2017 by Mary C. Neal, M.D . Published by Convergent, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.