Everyone has an opinion about it: What is it? What’s it like? Who goes there? Is it there at all? Some beliefs are grounded in bizarre supernatural experiences, some in hearsay, and others are the products of lively and optimistic imaginations.
Only one source claims to be authoritative on the subject – the Bible. Anything else is purely a product of wishful thinking. Some might protest that reliance on scripture is wishful thinking, but I’ll take a source that has been examined intensively for thousands of years and has been proven accurate time and again by historical and archaeological records. It certainly beats the latest internet fad.
So let’s say the biblical record of what heaven is like is at least close to accurate. The descriptions therein can be confusing, filled with symbolism and poetic vagaries, but there are a few direct statements that bring me great comfort. The most obvious is from the 21st chapter of the book of Revelations:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
While it isn’t said directly, the absence of tears, mourning, and pain imply the absence of sickness. That means…
It’s been rightly said that a human being can live three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air, but he cannot live three seconds without hope. The hope of a future without the misery of Multiple Sclerosis is indeed appealing and sustaining. Can you blame someone who has spent the greater part of her life fighting a losing battle against this beast looking forward to the possibility of freedom from its ravages?
Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic, once said, “I hope I can take my wheelchair to heaven with me… I will then turn to Jesus and say, ‘Lord, do you see that wheelchair right there? You can send that wheelchair to hell, if you want.'” There’s no shortage of people with MS who would share that sentiment.
One minor advantage to the absence of illness that has been occupying on my mind of late is this: there will be no insurance to deal with. Insurance problems, to which there seem to be no end, are one of the banes of my existence. I picture hell as a place where a person is doomed to perpetually file insurance claims and appeal them unto infinity.
Having insurance is better than not having it, I freely admit. But does dealing with insurance issues have to be nearly as painful as the conditions it’s meant to cover? Couldn’t it follow common sense from time to time? (I’m convinced that the stress of dealing with insurance companies can contribute to the progression of MS.)
One example that struck me recently: Insurance is supposed to help you pay for treatment of expensive medical conditions. Yet it costs more to go to the doctor to treat one of those conditions than to visit a doctor when you’re well.
I get it. Insurance companies aren’t in the business of helping people, they’re in the business of making money. Sick people cost more money than healthy people. They want me healthy (at least we share that goal) so they can make more money. In the case of MS, however, I think they don’t get it.
Just as it’s generally assumed that those fully covered annual physicals prevent further illness and thus further expense on the insurer’s part, the same goes for an MS patient’s regular visits to the neurologist and regular MRI’s. Until a cure is found, the point is to not get worse. So why charge a higher co-pay for what amounts to a neurological check-up that hopefully prevents further expense than for an annual physical whose purpose is the same? The only reason I can think of is, cuz they can.
No sickness. No wheelchairs. No insurance forms. I guess that’s why it’s called “heaven”.