The Sistine Chapel: Through the Eyes of a Child, Part 6

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, Salvation, Through the Eyes of a Child, Worship

There seemed to be no end to the wonders of Rome. Just when I thought there couldn’t be anything more amazing, there was. There was the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican!

The Vatican, in and of itself, was so beautiful. But when I entered the Sistine Chapel and saw those ancient, amazing paintings, my 7-year-old heart was ablaze with wonder and awe. Every painting made me smile. The other things we had seen so far were grandiose and powerful, pillars of strength and full of fairy-tale wonder. The Sistine Chapel, on the other hand, quieted my soul … and my mouth … and all I could do was take it all in. And take pictures. I snapped picture after picture with my black-and-white instamatic camera. Never had it seen so much use, and never had I so quickly gone through a roll of film! (and yes, I was 7-years-old LONG before digital cameras!)

Another thing that impressed itself upon my memory was the silence. In my 7 years of life, I was rarely in a place so void of noise. I had never thought about the outside world being “noisy”, but I did notice the lack of sound, and I found myself drawn to it.

I didn’t know much about God in those days, but because my mom had taken me to mass from time to time, I knew there was a heaven. As I stood in that chapel and took in all those beautiful paintings, I couldn’t help wondering if this … was … heaven!

I must have voiced my question because my mom assured me that it wasn’t. She even went so far as to say that Heaven would be even better than this! “But, as it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9 ESV). I found that hard to believe; but since my mom wasn’t in the habit of lying to me, I was left wondering. If Heaven was better than this, then I sure wanted to go there!

All too soon it was time to go, but I left that chapel with the glorious wonders of those paintings in my heart. And on my film, which I still have today!

I began noticing other things then. There were wooden boxes here and there, and people were going in and out of them. They looked like what my mom called “confessionals” in our home church, and she had told me before that one day, when I was old enough, I, too, would go into one of those boxes and confess my sins to a priest. I hadn’t thought much about it prior to this; but as I looked at those confessionals there in Vatican City, something stirred in my heart. If I wanted to go to Heaven — and after seeing the Sistine Chapel I certainly wanted to go there — that meant I needed to confess my sins! But what if I forgot some of them? Would that keep me from going to Heaven? And then the questions started to arise. If Jesus knows everything about us, and if He is the one who forgives us of our sin, then why did people have to go and confess to a human being at all?

I didn’t have an answer for that, and interestingly, neither did my mother. I left afraid that I wouldn’t go to Heaven and I would never again see wonders as glorious as the Sistine Chapel because I wouldn’t ever be able to remember all the sins I had committed to confess them to a priest. I will say that later in life, when I accepted Jesus into my heart and began pursuing a relationship with Him, I learned that Jesus is the One who forgives us, not a human priest: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25 ESV). And He knows our heart, including the sins I had forgotten, and they were all nailed to the cross with Him: ““Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12).

Of course, there is value to confessing our sins to another human being (See James 5:16), but it brought me such relief to know that my entry into Heaven wasn’t contingent upon me remembering all my sins and confessing them to a human. Halleluiah!  Not only am I assured to one day see something as glorious as the Sistine Chapel, but something far, far better: Heaven itself! “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Rev. 21:1 ESV)

I am so grateful for that little glimpse of Heaven from my family’s vacation when I was only 7 years old…It set me on the path that I would later trod in my pursuit of God!

Are you afraid that you might not make it to Heaven? Don’t worry. If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, He has already forgiven all your sins, big and small, remembered and forgotten. If you have never accepted Jesus, why not do it today? We’re here to help you in the following ways:

1. You can view our Salvation video;
2. You can visit our Savior’s Call webpage, available in 10 different languages;
3. Or you can email us, and we’ll be happy to help you accept Jesus into your heart!

Don’t wait! Do it today!

In His love,
Rob Chaffart

To access the entire “Through the Eyes of a Child” devotional series, please click here!


The Sistine Chapel: Through the Eyes of a Child, Part 6