Is this what Heaven will be like? Last week, our church was honored to partner with the Tim Tebow foundation for the second year to host Night to Shine – a prom for people with special needs. As I watched a room full of guests having the time of their lives, I heard people saying it was the “best night ever.”
It made me think back to last year’s prom, when a young man ran excitedly across the red carpet with his parents while people were cheering him on and taking pictures as he went through the doors, beaming with excitement for what was to come. Just afterward, his mother came up to me and asked if she could walk through again. She said she wanted to feel what her son had just experienced because “this is what it’s going to look like when he walks through the gates of Heaven.”
This year, we had 265 volunteers taking care of every detail for nearly 100 guests with special needs. Guests got to walk in on a red carpet where they received a crown or tiara and had their photo taken by the “paparazzi.” They danced and laughed and sang karaoke – everything about the event was centered on making sure each guest had a wonderful time. One gentleman approached me with tears in his eyes to introduce himself and thank us for giving his sister this opportunity. He told me he had driven from Jacksonville, Florida to attend this event with her.
After the prom, a hired worker from the catering company was moved to write a message on our Facebook page saying what a blessing the event had been to her. It turns out, she also has a son with special needs.
As I left the event for the second year, I couldn’t help but wonder, where do we go from here? If this was truly the best night ever, what was last year? And how do we make next year even better? My thoughts went back to the conversation I had with that mother one year ago who wanted to see what her son would experience when entering the pearly gates of Heaven.
While I know a simple prom is a far cry from the splendor of Heaven, I look at the love shown to those who may, at times, find themselves struggling to fit in. I think of the fun they had despite some having physical limitations. I saw, for a few hours on a Friday night, individuals for whom daily life is filled with struggles and burdens completely uninhibited, unrestrained and filled with joy.
Yes, I think I can say I saw a little glimpse of what Heaven will be like for us all on the faces of those in attendance at Night to Shine last weekend. And unlike what we can accomplish on this earth, in Heaven, each day will truly be the best day ever.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” Revelation 21:4-5