This feels like one of the most vulnerable moments of my life. I am about to share with you a personal, painful journey that I have been on for the last fourteen years. Along that journey I discovered a revelation worth sharing, but it has the potential to be misunderstood. I did not do everything right along the way, but I am hoping in this moment to be able to craft words that will allow you to hear the true intent of my heart.
If you know me, or have read part of my story, you know that I am experienced with grief. Grief is ugly, isolating, and no respecter of persons. Grief is also normal and natural after losing someone you love.
My first experience with grief as a teenager was when my grandfather had a stroke. He was hospitalized for some time, and though he was unable to speak, he would occasionally squeeze my hand when I asked him to. I believed wholeheartedly for his healing. He was not terribly old as grandparents go, and I had rallied friends to pray with me for his miraculous healing.
“We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)
I cannot quite describe what I felt the day he went to Heaven. Pit in my stomach. It was not that I was mad, but I remember being very disappointed. It just did not click that God did not answer my faithful prayers for healing. This pivotal moment launched my curiosity for Heaven and for understanding God’s will on earth. I knew that I would never fully be able to understand the infinite details of God’s plan for all eternity, but I knew there were some answers for me to find in the midst of the mess of grief.
One year later, my father died. Knowing that he was in Heaven, as a 14-year-old girl I chose to wear white to his memorial service to make a statement against traditional mourning-wear.
A few months after my father went home, someone who was also in the midst of grief gave me a book. This book, In Light of Eternity, helped me begin to see a healthier and certainly more exciting perspective of Heaven. I highly recommend it for anyone with a loved one in Heaven.
The more I thought about Heaven, the more study and attention I gave it, the more incredible it became in my understanding. I cannot exactly pinpoint where it was in my journey, but somewhere along the way revelation hit me. Heaven is a miracle.
“God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT)
Though I had been praying for a miracle on earth for my grandfather, God decided it best to provide the miracle of Heaven for him! That revelation continued to wash over me as I realized he was healed and whole in Heaven. He was not in pain. He was not missing out on anything. He no longer had to endure the darkness of life on earth and instead enjoyed the wonders of continually being in God’s tangible presence.
As Christians we are allowed to grieve. But we cannot give in to the loss without recognizing the miracle of Heaven. We may not have seen the earthly miracle we were praying for, but Heaven still provides a miracle!
Over my lifetime I have said goodbye to many family members, friends, and church members due to cancer, heart disease, and random accidents. Sometimes it is still really tough. Most times I have more questions than answers. However, I cannot downplay the beauty of what God has for us in the life to come. It is never easy or convenient to say goodbye to someone. It is incredible, though, that this life is only temporary and we can see them again. That alone is an answer I can hold onto.
My beautiful friend, Andi, has an art shop, and this piece so perfectly displays God’s heart in the seemingly quiet times.
And for those who have said goodbye to people who did not display a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, take heart. Only God knows the inner workings of a man’s heart. They may have cried out to Him in their darkest, and possibly last moments.
I want to stop looking at miracles based on my own definition of them. I hope this post has brought you some comfort and that we can rejoice together for the miracle of Heaven.
Disclosure: I was not paid to promote the above mentioned links and I am not affiliated with either outside website. All stated opinions are my own.