“No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” This verse from 1 Corinthians 2 is printed on the very last page of BEYOND HEAVEN’S DOOR by New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado. But it is also a great place to start this review, because that is exactly what this book is about. It’s so true: No one can fully comprehend the beautiful life that awaits Christians after death --- a life where sin and death are banished forever and ever. But certainly the Bible has plenty to say on the subject, and Lucado unlocks several well-known scriptures for a glimpse of what lies beyond the door to heaven.
"At only 127 pages, many containing just one Bible verse or general quote, BEYOND HEAVEN’S DOOR is one of those books you’ll want to read in one sitting. It’s also a great resource to pick up when you’re looking for a quick reference or answer to a question pertaining to the mystery of heaven."
In his typical easy style, Lucado begins with a personal illustration, comparing the entrance of heaven to his own ability --- or inability, really --- to enter the Augusta National Golf Club locker room. Apparently, even though he had been an invited guest by a pro golfer, he was denied access due to the clothing he wore. The comparison to our entrance into heaven is clear. As we are informed in Matthew 7:21, “Not all those who say ‘You are our Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Scary thought! He goes on to break down this scripture with a reminder of God’s patience. Of how we are given many opportunities to truly accept His invitation and to put on the clothing He requires.
From there, Lucado goes on to examine more than just the ability to “get into” heaven’s gate with chapters like “The Brand New You” and “The Ultimate Triumph.” He talks about being like Jesus. Seeing Jesus. Receiving the crowns of life, righteousness and glory. About having no regrets. And about who Jesus really is. He wraps things up with a chapter titled “While We Wait,” which takes a look at our role on earth as we wait for Jesus to return or take us home.
Again, true to form, Lucado paints beautiful word pictures and gives basic illustrations and comparisons of how he perceives heaven to be, according to what the Bible has to say. His teaching is straightforward, practical and easy to grasp. He offers specific scriptures and expands on their meanings in a factual way, and also inserts his own interpretations, such as the possibility that we’ll be approached by people whose lives we touched here on earth, and even the grandchildren and great-grandchildren we’ve never met. He admits that he doesn’t know if we’ll look so different that we won’t be instantly recognized, even joking that we may need name tags.
At only 127 pages, many containing just one Bible verse or general quote, BEYOND HEAVEN’S DOOR is one of those books you’ll want to read in one sitting. It’s also a great resource to pick up when you’re looking for a quick reference or answer to a question pertaining to the mystery of heaven. While it doesn’t dig deep into theology, or even offer a study guide, it does present some tasty food for thought and gives a fresh glimpse of what awaits us on the other side.
Most of all, BEYOND HEAVEN’S DOOR leaves us with a feeling of excitement and anticipation as we are reminded of just how much God loves us. So much, in fact, that He’s preparing a place for us to eternally walk with Him that is beyond our wildest dreams.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on April 12, 2013