Your Answer
Off the Wall, October 13,

Recently, I had a humbling experience that opened my eyes to something that could happen to most so-called Christians if not in the greater Latrobe area, someplace far beyond.

I was shopping in Shop n’ Save in the Lincoln Road Shopping Plaza when I came upon a mother/daughter duo. I heard the elder state to her offspring, “Go ahead, go ahead, ask him.”

Curious, I gave my undivided attention to a presumably twelve year-old youth. She approached quickly, not having that shyness a lot of youngsters have at this age. Looking into my eyes, with a warm smile on her face, she blurted out, “When I get to heaven, will I be able to talk to my grandmother?”

If you belong to one of the 150,000 denominations of Christianity, how would you have answered that question? Put yourself in my shoes. First of all, you have to realize, I do not have all the answers. None of us do, despite the hardheads that feel contraire. But despite my longing to deepen my relationship with the Trinity, I was placed into a position whereby I had to ask her a question before answering hers.

I didn’t feel threatened by the crowds around me. Her answer was priority and that’s what mattered to me the most. “Are you sure you are going to heaven?” were the first words that exited through my lips. That may sound cruel to some, but it was the most honest thing I could think of saying at the spur of the moment.

Think of it this way. If you are in your late sixties, for example, and you can remember being that little girl when you were twelve, how many times have you since walked away from God, your faith or even your church? But back then, you were an aspiring Christian girl on fire for the Lord, promising your parents, minister or priest, you would always stay true-blue to your commitment. Then something happened, and your love for God went into reverse. For some of you, that state of mind still exists.

What I saw was something genuine in these two people. I felt God’s unconditional love flowing through both of them. I would have loved to talk to her more as I had so much more to say.

I would have loved to hear stories of her younger years when she and her grandmother bonded in such a beautiful way. A host of questions come to mind such as “Did you and ‘Grammy’ play games together?” “Did she read to you about Jesus?” “I bet you ate every one of those chocolate chip cookies she baked for you, didn’t you?

I can only presuppose this little girl’s grandmother was also filled with the love of Jesus. Why else would she ask this question?

But getting back to my answer, I got a “double whammy” shot back at me by both mother and daughter. “Yes, I’m going to heaven when I die,” stated the youth. Gleaming from ear to ear with the biggest of smiles I’ve seen come from a mother in a long time, she stated, “she’ll be there!”

Shortly thereafter we parted. My mental shopping list got shoved aside, and I began wondering if I could have said more, or something different. As I was checking out, I happened to look back and saw them once again. I left the register area, thanking God someone was in front of me, leaving my cart, and hastening back to their side. Anxious to hear what I was going to say, both mother and daughter listened intently.

“Read John 3:16,” I said. “Study those closing words concerning “might have eternal life.” When one has reached that stage of life eternal, he or she is alive, and as I see it, when one is alive, why can’t we talk to each other. Besides that, scriptures tell us there is going to be great joy. As I see it now, it will be you talking to your grandmother!”

Am I right? I don’t know. I just go on how I interpret the Bible as taught by others to me, reading books, and sharing thoughts with others.

I praise God for this little girl. She taught me a lot. Realize this Christians. Any Christian could be approached by others and asked about our religion. Do you know your faith well enough to respond intelligently? When stepping up to the plate, don’t strike out, hit a homerun!

I now sigh with relief…

- Paul J. Volkmann
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