Disclaimer: As with anything I write, I write with the understanding that we all process death and grieving differently – even as believers – and this is not a judgment or a criticism of anyone who handles these things differently. I write about my own beliefs and understanding of death given the hope that Jesus brings to us all, and I write about how this is playing out in my own life in hopes that it might encourage others in their own journeys.
I have broken this into three posts because of the length. You can read parts one and two here.
It is often said that we tend to only believe God when it’s easy. Afterall, it’s easy to follow God when life is going well, when we have plenty, when things are comfortable.
As Job so beautifully demonstrated, God is STILL good and His word is still true even when we lose it all.
He is still worthy of our praise and devotion even when we lose a child.
And, true faith follows even when the way is unclear.
We need to realize that God’s Word is relevant in ALL parts of our lives, including death and other difficult times.
Do we believe the Bible or just parts of it that are convenient and easy?
What about when life is messy?
If we believe that the Bible is the holy word of God Himself, how can we disregard the promises and hope He gives even through the difficult issues?
The Bible mentions death numerous times, and those verses are typically followed by a reminder of the hope that we have because of what Jesus did on the cross. Here’s one example:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope…
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
So encourage each other with these words.
– 1 Thess. 4:13, 17-18 (bold emphasis mine)
Paul tells us to ENCOURAGE each other about death in this passage. Death was never God’s plan for us, but Adam and Eve changed the course of history and death became inevitable. One bite of an apple (disobedience) brought death into the world.
“We are geared for perfection which is why we are always so disappointed in life.”
– Rachel Gunsauls
And yet, death is NOT the end for any of us. We are all born with eternal souls and we make the choice during this life to follow Jesus or to walk away from Him – a choice that results in an eternity in Hell.
For those who have chosen Jesus, we have no reason to fear death. Death is merely the next step toward our eternal home and we will be FREE of all of the issues this world contains. This world is NOT our home. One day we will be with Jesus Himself, forever, and that is GREAT news! That alone is reason to REJOICE always.
Romans tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2) and this happens when we embrace God’s Truth and allow it to transform us…this pertains to death as well!
Jesus told not to worry (Matthew 6:34), to not be afraid (multiple times), and to remember that He has overcome the same world from which we wish to hide (John 16:33).
We are instructed to dwell on things above not on earthly things:
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world,
you will share in all his glory…
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn
to know your Creator and become like him.
– Colossians 3:1-4, 10
The world has no hope, but we do. And how are they going to find the hope that we have if we don’t live it out?
Here’s my advice:
Trust the Lord FULLY, even when you can’t see what He’s doing.
Don’t wonder what might have been, don’t have regrets.
Live life to the fullest NOW and focus on what matters – loving God and loving others.
Then you will have greater peace when a loved one goes to Heaven before you.
I long for Heaven more than ever before now that Tori is a resident of that wonderful place, and I am enjoying learning more about her current (and our future) home.
I know that someday we will be reunited FOREVER and will never be apart. The anticipation of that day brings such excitement, even though I have no idea how long it will be until we are reunited. All I know is that it will feel as if no time has passed at all since Heaven doesn’t operate within the time we know.
Does all of this mean that I shouldn’t cry when I miss her? Of course not. Grief is natural and I will never stop missing her.
However, I do believe that having a biblical perspective on death and Heaven eases the blow of her absence, and it brings me peace that cannot be otherwise explained.
Set your minds on things above…choose joy…be grateful…trust God.
Heaven, along with the knowledge that we’ll be reunited with our loved ones (who also knew Jesus), removes the sting of death, one thorn at a time.
Praise Jesus for His grace and mercy that make any of this possible.