Every time Norm Peterson walked into Cheers, the bar would echo with people calling out his name. As the theme song explained, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.”
I’ll be honest. I don’t always get such a warm reception when I walk into a room. People aren’t always glad I came. Some rooms I walk into are full of strangers. Others are full of tension and awkwardness. Still others are full of angry faces who definitely are not happy to see me.
That’s why it feels so good when I can go where everybody knows my name and they are genuinely glad that I came. I think all of us yearn for places like that.
“Will we know each other in heaven?”
That’s a question I am often asked, but it’s a tough question to answer because the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we want to know about heaven. From the descriptions of heaven we have in the Bible, it does seem that we will recognize each other.
But how much will we remember of our lives and relationships here on earth? That’s hard to say. The Bible does say that in heaven there will be no memory of the pains and problems of this world (Isaiah 65:16), but what exactly we will remember is a question we can’t answer this side of heaven.
What we do know is that in heaven everything will be perfect. In heaven, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). In heaven, we will no longer sin. In heaven, all our relationships will be healed. In heaven, there will be no more arguments or resentment or disappointment.
In heaven, we will hug those with whom we struggle here on earth, those who annoy us and even those who don’t want to be in the same room as us right now. When you walk into heaven, everybody will know your name and they will always be glad you came.
You can be sure you have a home where everybody knows your name.
Why? Because you have a God who knows your name. He knew your name even before your parents choose it. He loved you before time even began.
He loved you so much, he became one of us to suffer the punishment we deserve for all the pain we’ve caused, all the relationships we’ve damaged and all the anger we’ve shown. Jesus came to a world which rejected him. He stood in a courtroom surrounded by people who hated him. He was led to a courtyard full of soldiers who whipped him and mocked him. He hung from a cross as people walked by shaking their heads in disgust and hurling insults.
On that cross, Jesus faced his Father’s anger for our failures.
Jesus suffered that rejection so you never would have to. Because he did, you are forgiven. Through faith in him, you have a home waiting for you where everybody knows your name.
So when you walk into a room full of angry faces here on earth, when you face the heartache of broken relationships, when you feel alone and unloved, remember that one day you will walk through the door of a massive banquet hall. Everyone will stop what they are doing. Every eye will turn to you.
And with welcoming smiles, they will all call out your name.