Riding home from dinner one night, Josh grew quiet. Since this rarely happens, his silence always gets my attention immediately. I shifted around to see him better. He was staring out of the window with a frown on his face, chewing his lip, deep in thought.
“What’s up, buddy?” I asked him. My husband, Kris, who was driving, watched him in the rear-view mirror.
“Well…” (that’s the way he starts almost every sentence, and it sounds like Way-uhl…) “Well…did Granny go to heaven?” My father’s mother recently passed away, and Josh was very close to her. This had naturally begun questions about deep theology, such as did Granny’s hair go to heaven with her, did she have coffee in heaven, did she go to heaven with her dress on, and where was the door in the sky that let her in. Kris and I were prepared. So we thought.
“Yes, buddy, remember, she’s in heaven with Jesus now.”
“Well…does evuhweebody go to heaven?”
Kris cleared his throat – loudly and a little longer than necessary – and finally answered him.
“Everybody that loves and obeys Jesus goes to heaven, buddy.”
Still more silence. Josh was really thinking this one through.
“Well…my fwend Rhett…at school…he’s not going to heaven. He talks mean to me sometimes on the pwaygwound.” A gleam was forming in Josh’s eye. His voice got louder.
“I’ll tell him he’s not going to heaven, Mom, ‘cause he doesn’t obey Jesus. I’ll tell him that if he doesn’t share (shay-ur) the jeep on the pwaygwound tomorrow that he’s not going to heaven.”
This led to a very long evening. Josh came up with all sorts of lists of things that would keep someone out of heaven. According to his standards, not anyone I know will ever be there, except, of course, my Granny. Even Josh’s baby sister, Kristyn, who just turned one, will be kept out because at some point that night she took his G.I. Joe when he wasn’t looking and tried to eat it. Josh solemnly condemned her as he took the dripping wet toy out of her chubby little fingers. Kris and I looked at each other. We had to set the record straight.
“Joshy, buddy, come here a minute.” As Kris explained to Josh about how to get into heaven and what it all meant, I thought about the marvelous grace of God. That really, without the blood of Jesus, Josh’s harsh standards were just about right when it came to keeping me, or anyone else, out of heaven.
The question of Granny’s hair and clothes going with her, thankfully, was put to the side for another day.
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