Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Romans 12:15
One of the things that ministered to me the most after Hans left us, was the genuine sorrow people shared with us. It is a sweet joy when folks are brave enough to let me know Hans mattered to them, too. Thank you for saying his name out loud.
The following letter was written about a year ago after talking on the phone to a friend who called to express her sorrow about Hans:
Manfred mentioned that he stopped by your place and you have been on my mind ever since. This is very hard for all of us that knew and loved Hans. I am honored by your tears. Please tell your boys that Hans thought a great deal of them. He often said he wished there were more boys like yours out there.
I want you to know that, while our hearts are so very, very heavy, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and all I can think about is that someday, maybe soon, Hans will come up out of that hole we planted him in and he will be physically raised with a brand new, unbroken, perfect body that can never die. These are the facts of the resurrection. I know you know this. I just want you to know that I have found that Jesus can be trusted to do what he says he will do.
Here are the facts – God’s Word the Bible is very clear: To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The moment life went out of Hans’ body, he was taken immediately into the presence of God – no waiting, no further payment or cleansing required. That’s because Jesus paid it all and it is finished. When the Lord Jesus returns he will bring Hans with him. Hans is not dead – he is very much alive and having a wonderful, beautiful time right this very minute. We will see him again and we know exactly where he is. He has left our home and gone on ahead to his eternal home. We know this because Hans believed what God says about sin and how to be saved from it.
This is not the vague hope of a grieving mother: “I hope he’s in heaven”.
No, this is a sure hope – a joyful certainty: “I know he’s in heaven”.
Hans is safe. He’s where no one can hurt him. I don’t need to worry about him.
January 11, 2016 was the best day of Hans’ life.
I pray you know these things with the same certainty and that it brings you peace.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
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. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:24-29