When just a small boy, God saved Hans from the penalty and power of sin, assuring him a place in Heaven based on faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. So, when we say we will see Hans again, our level of assurance is quite high. But what about the parent who does not have that assurance? What about the parent who is not sure at all?
Our children are in the hands of a righteous judge. If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will rejoice in whatever we find when we finally enter eternity. We will see things with God’s eyes. We will understand His purposes. We will be in perfect agreement with his sovereign will. There will be no sorrow, no tears, no grieving. We will say, yes, Lord, I see it now. We will praise Him for His wisdom and lovingkindness. We will have peace.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. Psalm 116:
Pre-born people, people born with limited mental capacity, infants, and young children who are not yet of sufficient age as to be held accountable for their actions are safe. When they die, they go to be with the Lord in Heaven.
The thief who was crucified on a cross beside the Lord, believed Jesus was Who He said He was—King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The thief knew he was a sinner deserving death and called Jesus Lord. No special prayer, no good works, not much time to do anything other than believe.
The worst sinner in the world can, while taking his last breath, cry out to God from his heart for mercy. Unless you were with your child one hundred percent of the time throughout his entire life, you cannot know if he may have heard the good news of salvation in Jesus. Unbeknownst to you, your child could have heard about Jesus from a tract, a radio broadcast, a Facebook post, a Bible verse scrawled on a wall, a sign held up at a football game, or a billboard. God does not take pleasure in sending people to Hell.
We cannot alter the past, but if there is a shred of realistic hope the child was genuinely born again, hang on to that. Discipline your mind and resist the temptation to imagine what you cannot know for sure. Do not torture yourself. Focus on your loved ones who remain, the ones you can still actually help. And if your child is in Heaven, make sure you will be there, too. God always does right. God is good. We must trust Him. We must leave it all with the Lord and ask Him to grant us peace.
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24
So, while I am quite certain I will see Hans again, I can only be certain up to a point. I cannot see into Hans’s heart the way God can. I cannot know, beyond any doubt, his profession of faith was authentic. I can look at Hans’s life, I can remember his words and what he told us he believed, but I can only be one hundred percent certain of my own salvation.
Likewise, you cannot be one hundred percent certain that your child is eternally lost. Not knowing for sure, you will suffer. But there is hope. And there is God. The God you can trust. Even with this.
-Excerpts from Never Ceasing: God’s Faithfulness in Grief