CHAPTER ONE: ; ;Looking Forward to Heaven ; ; ;Knowing where you are going takes the uncertainty out of getting there. ; ; "For I know the plans I have for you," ;declares the Lord, ;"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, ;plans to give you hope and a future." ; ; -Jeremiah 29:11 ; ; Death is the great equalizer, isn't ;it? It doesn't matter if we have lived on this earth as: ; ; ; ; young or old ; ; ; A ; rich or poor ; ; ; A ; A ; famous or unknown ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; educated or ignorant ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; powerful or weak ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; religious or atheistic ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; athletic or crippled ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; healthy or sickly ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; happy or depressed . . . ; ; ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; A ; we all die. ; ; ; ; ;Still, death can come as an utterly unexpected surprise. More than five ;thousand men and women went to work at the World Trade Center in New York ;City on September 11, 2001, and began what they thought was just another ;routine day at the office. Many of them had likely gotten a cup of coffee, ;sat down at their desks, rolled up their sleeves, booted up their computers, ;and begun placing telephone calls. None of them had any indication that ;within the hour they would step into eternity. For them, death came as ;a thief in the night. ;For others, death can come as a longed-for and welcomed relief. Within ;a three-week period, while I was in the midst of writing this book, I attended ;both the funeral of my husband's beloved brother, John Lotz, and the funeral ;of my father's associate T. W. Wilson, who was like a second father to ;me. John died as a result of a fast-growing, malignant brain tumor. "Uncle ;T" died from massive heart failure at the grand old age of eighty-two. ;For both John and Uncle T, death came as an angel of mercy. ;Regardless of how or when it comes, death does come for each of us. ;And each of us wonders: When will it come for my loved one? What will it ;be like for me? ;For the past thirteen years I have traveled all over the world in response ;to invitations to give out God's Word. There have been times, such as my ;first visit to India, when I have started out by climbing onto the plane ;with my stomach churning, my knees knocking, and my heart fibrillating-terrified ;because I was not sure where I was going, or who would meet me at the journey's ;end. But what a difference there has been in my attitude when I have had ;the opportunity for a second visit to that same place. I have left home ;with peace in my heart because I knew where I was going and who would meet ;me at the journey's end. In the same way, the prospect of death can fill ;you and me with terror and dread-unless we know where we are going. Knowing ;as much as we can about our final destination, and Who will meet us at ;the end of life's journey, takes the fear out of getting there. ; ; A ; ;Hope for Today ; ;Picture an old man, living on a remote island. He is about ninety ;years of age, and he knows it will soon be his time to die. Like many elderly ;people today, he is isolated and lonely,Lotz, Anne Graham is the author of 'Heaven My Father's House', published 2005 under ISBN 9780849906992 and ISBN 0849906997.