For a person so young, I have experienced a lot of loss. And by loss I mean, lost time with those I love. I can rest assured knowing that those I love who have died are surely not lost. I don’t say this for pity. I say this to justify my fascination with death, dying, and coping.
My questioning really began at 16. I found myself wanting to know all these questions related to dying and where heaven fit into all that. It hasn’t been until recently that I have truly grasped the concept.
Through this I have found myself also questioning phrases of comfort such as “that person is looking down on you” or “they are here with you”. I thought, is that true? If so, is that what I want? I found my first perspective of this while listening to Allen preach my aunt’s funeral. He said that no matter how much Bridget loved Terry, and her children, and her life; she wouldn’t want to come back here. Heaven is for real, y’all. And when our loved ones get there, they aren’t coming back. Revelation 21:4 tells us that in Heaven, there is only room for the good things…far better things then we could ever experience in our time here on earth. There is no pain, suffering, stress, or anxiety there. They spend their ENTIRE day worshiping, praising, singing, partying with our Father. Coming back to a fallen world, ain’t nobody got time for that!
I will admit that it is a sweet thought that my grandma is looking down on me; but there are some things I just wouldn’t want her to see. And I truly believe that if she did watch over me, she would continue to stress. She loved me so much. And it would be natural for her to worry about my safety, my future, and MY worries. And to be honest, I would never want that for her. That’s not what eternity is about.
Allen told me that day that Bridget would never wish to come back here, she would only say “Come join me!” Heaven is wonderful, while our world is sinful and fallen. Our loved ones are free from that. We can rest in the comfort of knowing that we will be reunited with them, but I have to tell you that they are not here with us. And I think if you truly search your heart, you will realize that you wouldn’t want them to be either.
Sin makes us spiritually dead and is the reason that we are all guaranteed a physical death. However, for the Christian, giving our life to the Lord is a guarantee that our life will continue in a much lengthy and more extravagant way. Therefore, for the Christian, our death is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter nearly as much, because we are still promised a future. Romans 14:8 tells us that to a Christian, death is better than life.
The death for an unbeliever is a truly grim thing, and definitely deserves mourning, because we know what that person is facing. But that was their choice. G.C. Jones said, “When a free human being uses his freedom to reject the truth of God, and to refuse to relate rightly with him, then there is no alternative except to allow him to do so. In making this choice, man becomes responsible for the results of separation from God. He lives his life in this world without God, and when he dies, God will not pick him up against his will and drag him into a place so drastically different from the kind of person he has chosen to be.”
Don’t fear death, my friend. It will come to us all. Cherish each moment here on earth so that those you love have something to hold onto once you are gone. We live for others. God did not wake you up this morning so that you could complete a task for yourself. He allowed you to open your eyes because someone else in this world needs you. I can promise you that losing some of those I love most at 10, 11, 16, 17, 22…it makes me sad. But I have such wonderful memories with them, and that is all I have to carry me for the rest of my life; until the day I am greeted by their smiling faces at the gates of eternity. Make good memories, folks. We will all have bad days, but make memories with those you love. Don’t let anger, blame, spite, or guilt weigh you down. As Angela Thomas says, “Don’t go to the funeral until the day it arrives, because you will miss the life that you have left. Besides, we’re all terminal. Death is certain for us all.” Don’t begin grieving the person before they are even gone. Enjoy the time you have. Yes, you will surely miss them when their name is called. But you can find comfort in knowing that 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 tells us that death will be defeated. It will not win. And that when Godly people die, they are at peace (Isaiah 57:1-2).