I waited in the car last night with my nineteen-year-old daughter for the boys to finish up with their activity. The days are colder now and grow dark earlier, but we were warm and cozy, listening to her music over the speakers via her iPod. I made sure she grew up listening to Christian music—contemporary and worship, of course. But she’s a musician, and as usually happens, children choose their own path. Her iPod holds thousands of songs she’s sure I wouldn’t “approve” of.
Despite my sentiments, “Stairway to Heaven”–and old, familiar tune–filled the car.
I sang out with the lyrics and my daughter gave me a wide-eyed look, “You know the words?” She was truly shocked.
I laughed and explained this was an old song that played repeatedly over the radio. When I grew up, we didn’t have Christian radio like we do today, but even though my Christians parents wouldn’t allow me to own Led Zeppelin music, yes—I know the words.
Sitting in the quiet, listening to music gave me time to reflect that I rarely get with a household of energetic boys and six pets, including an obnoxious blue and gold macaw, and a needy, schnauzer. You get the picture.
If you’re familiar with the song, you might remember the lyrics. The songs starts with, “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
I read that Robert Plant, the songwriter, said depending on the day, the lyrics will mean something different to him—it’s that kind of song. I recalled that the image inside the album was a rocky stairway and at the top, someone wearing a hooded cape stood looking on—my impression is this image represents the “angel of death,” but I don’t’ know.
All around us we can see there’s a hunger for the supernatural, the spiritual. People want to know if there is something waiting on the other side. We see this in the stream of books about heaven on the shelves in recent years, many of which have been written by those claiming to have experienced heaven firsthand.
Heaven Is For Real (Todd Burpo) is the latest book on the topic. There have been many more in recent years including 90 Minutes In Heaven: a True Story of Death and Life (Don Piper), and Heaven (Randy Alcorn.) Heaven and the afterlife experience–whether heaven or hell–are popular topics and include those written from a not-so-Christian perspective.
But like the woman in the song, many people will find out the hard way that “he who has the most toys does not win.” Accumulating wealth can’t buy them a stairway to heaven, and their lives have no meaning, or at least had no meaning while they were alive.
The good news is there is hope and it’s our job as Christians to spread that news, make disciples, and do the task God has given us. As a Christian fiction author, I’m delighted that I get to write stories that reveal His grace and mercy, and I should never take that task lightly. It’s a heavy responsibility when so many don’t know there’s an afterlife and there is only one straight and narrow path to heaven.
I’m grateful that we’ve seen the Christian fiction market grow these last several years, and even people who aren’t Christians are reading those books.
That’s a beautiful picture of God’s grace and mercy. There is a stairway to heaven, if you will, and God uses every venue to show us the way, if we’ll only listen.
Take every opportunity to share a good book containing the right message with someone who is hurting or someone who doesn’t now the Truth.