By now, if you have read a few posts here, it is apparent that I am quite certain I will see Hans again. Heaven is a real place. My son is there. I am sure of this as a person can be.
Experiencing the wrenching pain of losing a child has helped me to recognize more fully that most grieving people have an intense need for assurance that they will be reunited with their loved ones. Assurance based on facts leads to peace and can take the edge off grief when it threatens to escalate to despair. False assurance, however, based on error, can make one feel better temporarily, but in the still small hours of a sleepless night, I need something more substantial than “I hope so.”
I have observed people who do not believe in an afterlife; the anger, guilt, and despair they often carry on top of their grief can be shattering. Likewise, the mourner that senses there must be something more to our brief existence on the earth, but has no concrete ideas about it, is vulnerable to being lost in a quagmire of error that may bring temporary relief, but no true and lasting peace. There is a variety of pleasant sounding popular notions about death and dying to choose from that seemingly help make the pain more bearable.
Here are a few I have run into:
Everybody goes to Heaven no questions asked. This does not bring peace because it violates one’s innate sense of justice. It simply is not fair and I believe, deep down, most people that hold this view know it.
My child is not gone. He is right here with me, I just can’t see him. Comforting as this thought is, I believe most parents, if they are honest, suspect it is not true. It is a little lie we tell ourselves when the longing for our child becomes overwhelming. We confuse past memories with present desire, combining them within our imagination in a desperate attempt to make it so. Comforting? Maybe for a time. But it is a fragile self-deception that will likely be unable to repulse the next assault of sorrow.
There is no Heaven, there is only energy, and when I leave this planet I will join all the other energies out there, one of which is my child, and we will co-exist forever in a state of blissful harmony.
This is all there is. There is no afterlife. I have nothing to look forward to except death which will finally bring an end to my pain.
It is easy to grasp at anything plausible that offers assurance that we will see our children again, or that they are not really gone, or that it doesn’t even matter.
But plausible is not good enough. I want the Truth. I want what actually is. I want reality. Anything else will not help me and certainly will not do Hans any good. I have the Truth. I do not need fairy tales.
So, how can I be so confident that I will see my son again?
Is it because he was “a good boy”; was “never in any trouble”; “was no worse than anyone else”?
Is it because his family goes to church every Sunday and Hans never missed a meeting unless he was sick?
Is it because his parents are Christians?
No, no and no. Titus 3:5
There is only one assurance I can claim concerning where Hans is today. That assurance lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ and in the promises He has given us in His Word. John 11:25-26
So here it is in a nutshell:
Hans knew he could not get rid of this sin problem by himself. He knew he needed a Redeemer and Savior, Someone to take his penalty for sin and to satisfy God the Father’s holy justice. No one gets away with anything – Hans knew this, too. Romans 6:23
Jesus is God the Son which makes Him the only qualified Person to act as our substitute and to take the punishment we deserve. There is one way into God’s Heaven. Jesus is it. Hans knew this as well. John 14:6 1 Timothy 2:5 Acts 4:12
So far, so good. But what did Hans do with all these facts?
He believed them.
That’s it. Romans 10:9-13
That is how I know I will see Hans again.
Because I believe them, too.
How about you?
What Hans Believed
The Gift Offered
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The Gift Received
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
The Gift Fulfilled
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
What keeps you from believing, too?