In 1883, Charles Spurgeon was sitting on a bench in Menton, France, when a pale, emaciated woman sat down beside him.
“I am so afraid to die!” she said.
Spurgeon tried to cheer her up, saying, “Let me tell you what will probably happen to you; you will most likely go to bed some night, and you will wake up in Heaven.”
Not long after, the woman died in her sleep, just as Spurgeon predicted. Her husband wrote Spurgeon a letter thanking him for comforting his wife before her midnight passing.
“Heaven is a vast museum of wonders of grace and mercy.”
Many Victorians believed the entrance to hell was through Iceland’s famous Hekla volcano. But where was heaven?
Some assumed heaven was located “in the central star of our solar system, Alcyone, in the constellation of the Pleiades,” as Spurgeon reported. But the pastor had his doubts. He reminded his congregation, “What we do know, however, about heaven is that it is in the presence of God.”
“You will never have your heart in heaven till you have heaven in your heart.”
Here are seven reasons Spurgeon longed for heaven, and why you can long for heaven, too.
1. Jesus Christ is there.
“There cannot be heaven without Christ. He is the sum total of bliss; the fountain from which heaven flows, the element of which heaven is composed. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ.”
“Oh, to think of heaven without Christ! It is the same thing as thinking of hell.”
2. Family and friends are there.
“I believe that heaven is a fellowship of the saints, and that we shall know one another there.”
“We should see so many there we did not expect to see.”
3. Christian heroes are there.
“I reckon on meeting David, whose psalms have so often cheered my soul. I long to meet with Martin Luther and Calvin, and to have the power of seeing such men as Whitefield and Wesley, and walking and talking with them in the golden streets.”
“Heaven has been the beloved theme of God’s sons and will be ’till time shall end.”
4. Perfect holiness is there.
“I must frankly confess that of all my expectations of heaven, I will cheerfully renounce ten thousand things if I can but know that I shall have perfect holiness. . . . If we shall have that, surely we shall have everything.”
5. Safety and security are there.
“The rougher the voyage the more the mariners long for port, and heaven becomes more and more ‘a desired haven,’ as our trials multiply.”
6. Rewards for faithfulness are there.
“There is a crown there which nobody’s head but yours can ever wear. There is a seat in which none but yourself can sit. There is a harp that will be silent till your fingers strike its strings. There is a robe, made for you, which no one else can wear.”
“Heaven at any price is well secured.”
“The head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares—it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon.”
7. Marriage is there.
“In heaven they marry not, but are as the angels of God; yet there is this one marvelous exception to the rule, for in heaven Christ and His Church shall celebrate their joyous nuptials.”
A Final Word
Charles Spurgeon passed away on January 31, 1892, in Menton, France. He was fifty-seven years old.
Like the dying woman Spurgeon comforted, the Prince of Preachers also slipped to sleep one night and opened his eyes in the presence of Christ.
For Spurgeon, the afterlife was not an afterthought. Heaven always occupied his mind.
From the apostolic era, Christians have lived in the hope of heaven. As each of us grows one day closer to that reality, may the Holy Spirit enable us to heed Spurgeon’s advice:
“As you come nearer heaven ought you not to be more heavenly?”