Tag Archives: Heaven

Review: Touched by Eternity, by Susan Harris

Touched by Eternity, by Susan Harris (White Lily Press, 2019)

Book cover: Touched by Eternity (A True Story of Heaven, Healing, and Angels) by Susan Harris

I was eager to read this book, since I’ve communicated enough with author Susan Harris to respect her Christian faith and her integrity. Despite the popularity of books recounting near-death experiences (NDEs) I’ve avoided them until now because I had no way to verify the writer’s trustworthiness.

Subtitled “A True Story of Heaven, Healing, and Angels,” Touched by Eternity is a memoir of the author’s three NDEs and related visions and how these events have shaped her life. A nonfiction author with an analytical mind, she relies heavily on details (including her hospital records and notes taken at the time) to anchor her personal experiences in as much fact as possible.

At the same time, the events themselves make the book as easy to read as a novel.

An experienced speaker, leader, and teacher, Susan Harris makes no claims to having touched Eternity by her own merit or strength. Instead, as one would expect with a near-death experience, her moments of greatest physical pain and weakness have been the gateways to the spiritual realm.

She writes with honesty about her personal failings and about her struggle to understand what happened and to accept the disappointment of tasting Heaven and then being returned to earthly life.

Christians can be uncomfortable discussing NDEs out of fear of drifting into heresy or false teachings. The Bible shows people being brought back from the dead, but we don’t get their testimonies of what they saw while they were gone.

I appreciate how Susan Harris finds biblical connections for many of her observations and how she’s careful to present her interpretations as her own and not as doctrine or fact. Her stated purpose in writing this book is to stimulate discussion, encourage the faith of Christians, and inspire non-Christians to seriously consider Jesus’ words about Heaven and Hell.

It’s interesting to read that in her research into other NDE accounts, she found similarities and yet differences, as if individuals were seeing part of a much-greater whole.  

Favourite line:

My whisper was hoarse, the broken kind He hears because He Himself had hung ragged on a rugged cross. [Kindle location 2284]

No matter how much or little pain we’ve endured, Touched by Eternity reminds us that it’s in our brokenness that we’re closest to God. It challenges us to take time alone with Him, to remember what He’s taught us in the past, and to obey anything He’s called us to in the present that we may have been neglecting. Our time on earth is limited, and we need to be about our Father’s business before that time runs out.

Other books by Susan Harris include Little Copper Pennies (a history of the Canadian one-cent piece) and Remarkably Ordinary. She currently hosts a television show called ETERNITY. For more about the author and her work, visit susanharris.ca.

[Review copy provided by the author. My opinions are my own.]

Life and Death

Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.
1Thessalonians 5:10, NLT*

I was raised in the Christian faith. For all the things I was slow to learn, or am still learning, this one thing I believed from childhood: Jesus’ death on the Cross meant I could go to Heaven when I died.

No wondering if I’d be “good enough to make it.” Somehow I grasped early on that it wasn’t about earning a place, but about accepting the invitation.

Because I was sure of my ultimate destination, when circumstances felt painful or overwhelming, I saw Heaven as the ultimate escape. I’m glad God also gave me a strong sense that life was His alone to give and take.

The Apostle Paul said, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21, NLT*) He wasn’t indulging in a self-absorbed death-wish. He was giving his all to the Lord each day, knowing there was a reward at the end of the race.

The assurance of eternity with Jesus means that whatever we’re living now, there’s something better coming. Pain will be wiped away. So, too, will our present treasures, so let’s not hoard them.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven. We can’t force others to choose Him, but we can pray persistently and we can surrender our lives fully to Him so that they’ll see the difference He makes. We can obey Him when He tells us how to love them.

How do we practice now for eternity? Consciously spending time with God today – each day – will make all the difference. Quiet moments in prayer, reading the Bible (His love letter to us), learning to rest in His presence while we work or play… it’s not easy to retrain our spirits to check in with Him regularly, but it’s a worthwhile goal. And it’s the sort of prayer He’d love to answer.

God our Father, Jesus our Saviour, Holy Spirit our Sustainer, how can we thank You for saving us from eternal separation from Your love? Give us a healthy longing for Heaven, and give us a stronger longing for Your presence with us each moment of our days on earth. Work in us so that others will catch glimpses of You. Work through us to show mercy and compassion and to break chains and barriers.

There are some beautiful songs anticipating Heaven, but instead of choosing something from my “requiem” playlist, I leave us with this challenge from Matt Maher‘s album, Saints and Sinners: “Firelight.” The opening may not seem to match this post, but I hope you’ll listen through the instrumental break and to the end. May we put our remaining days here to good use.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.