Nota bene: this passage does not necessarily apply to heaven as much as physically following Christ during His travels; still, it presents itself as food for thought.
I awoke on a platform that ascended through the sky. I knew nothing about those who sat beside me, nor they of me. The near distance was obscured by infinite fields of clouds; I could not comprehend the rate at which we flew by them. I looked off the platform and could see no ground, only a great host of angels guiding the platform upward. I called out to them, but they did not answer.
The platform slowed to a stop. The clouds parted, revealing a vast array of wealth and riches. The streets were paved in gold and encrusted with jewels. Great luxuries which we knew were real but which we could never possess littered the walkways in mint condition. Sounds of great entertainment were heard in the distance: laughter, applause, and childlike glee. More than this, I could spot the things I once possessed: old hardware I once had, small trinkets with which I used to play, and all the objects I once valued. In an instant, all those aboard knew the purpose of this vessel. A great host of strangers left the platform and wrapped themselves in whatever they could find. They were happy. I stayed aboard. I knew that God was in Heaven. I could not see Him, though, nor could I feel His presence. I watched as the clouds reassembled. Those who stayed in the land of pleasure didn’t even notice the platform rising past them.
It didn’t take long for the platform to arrive at a new destination. The clouds parted again to see a beautiful mountain view. Everything was quiet, save for the gentle ambience of nature. Books sprouted from the ground like flowers, and trails led every which way. More than this, I identified objects of my own creation: the literature I wrote, the manifestations of my achievements on Earth, and all the things I enjoyed about myself. This was the land of self-enrichment, but only enrichment of the self. Surely the noisy place was hell, many said. Surely a place of peace like this would be heaven!
“But isn’t God in heaven?” I argued.
“Who cares?” they said. “We will spend eternity here in this paradise! We are relieved from work at last!” I could not convince them; they left for their own recreation. They hiked, they read, they basked lazily in the sun. I called out to the angels beside me, “Where is the real heaven? Take me there!”
“Heaven is with the Lord,” they responded. “Keep watch, therefore; you know not when your Lord comes.”
I slumped onto my seat on the platform, deflated but determined. I looked around me and saw that I was alone. The clouds parted for me, and I saw my family, gathered together in the distance. My friends, everyone I knew, stood behind them. All of them waited for me. Even still, I had grown jaded from seeing too much falsehood. I cried out to them: “Where is God? Is He there?”
“We missed you!” “Welcome home!” “Come closer; it’s been too long!” “We love you so much!”
I turned away, but I could still hear them. I plugged my ears, but I could still recall their voices in my head. I screamed out to the angels, “Take me away from here!”
They answered my call. I could not bear to see my family disappear before me. Were they apparitions, or did they truly fall by the wayside?
The clouds parted again, and I knew. I had never seen the face of God or Christ before, but I knew then who They were. I rose and stepped off the platform. It was a good thing, too; I felt the platform give way as soon as I lifted my back foot. My family stood behind Them. I fell to the ground, grateful to have been found worthy.
“If anyone comes to Me and hates not his father and his mother and his wife and his children and his brothers and his sisters and even his life, he is not able to be My disciple. Whoever carries not his cross and comes after Me is not able to be My disciple… [E]very one of you who does not give up all that he possesses is not able to be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-33