A grieving parent, who is barely two years into this journey, recently shared with me that God obviously knew their child’s death would bring so much darkness and pain into their lives and yet He allowed it anyway, and then asked if I thought their child could “be happy with our Lord in Paradise, seeing the unending heartbreak and tears left behind.”
I thought it was a great question, and decided to share my thoughts on this with other grieving parents who might be wondering the same thing.
Yes, God knows what losing our children will do to us, both short term and long term. For most of us, the first two years or more is full of a suffocating darkness that cannot be put into words. And it is impossible to see yourself back in any kind of light to live a life worth living, much less ever feel happy again.
So does this cause your child in heaven to be sad for how much you are hurting?
I believe your child sees the same picture that God sees; the same one that you cannot see right now. She or he is now on the other side of eternity, and can see beyond the darkness of our “now” here on earth.
Our children who have left this earth ahead of us are living out Romans 8:18, which tells us, “We have sufferings now. But the sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us.” I think it is very possible that our children are so busy dancing and laughing in that glory, being in a state of absolute perfection, and rejoicing at being face-to-face with Jesus, that they are not in heaven grieving the pain of our loss one bit.
In fact, I think it is possible that the exact opposite (of them being sad for us) is happening.
I picture my daughter ecstatic in joyful anticipation, knowing what I will be gaining, and super excited beyond what can be put into words that someday she will be there to actually meet me upon my own arrival into that glory God promised. Can you see your child that way as well?
How many kids get to greet their parents at heaven’s gates? That is actually pretty special. Talk about a change in perspective!
What I have learned in my time of being here on earth without Becca, is that we eventually get to a point where we can choose our perspective. Am I going to live every single day for the rest of my life here on earth in the intense pain of my loss? I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to. Yes, I still go there from time to time, and the tears flow and my heart feels like it is breaking all over again.
But more and more often, instead of mourning my loss, I am choosing to be happy for her gain… picturing her with both legs (her left leg was amputated at age three because of cancer) in total perfection and joy that is beyond what I can even imagine here on earth. I picture her worshiping Jesus – which she loved to do here on earth (and wrote many incredible worship songs), but now she can actually worship Him at His throne!
Wallowing in the pain of my loss and how much I miss her, feeds the suffocating darkness and pain, allowing it to continue consuming me.
Meditating on her gain, causes that pain and darkness to lift to a place of making life bearable once again.
And the more I spend time thinking about her gain in heaven (how she must look in wholeness and perfect beauty, how great she must feel both physically and emotionally, how she must absolutely love being in the very presence of the actual throne room, etc.) the more it brings me to a place of my life here on earth being full again. I not only realize she is okay, but she is better and more full of life than she ever was here on this earth.
I think that heaven is so incredible, our children can no longer relate to pain here on earth. How can there be broken hearts in heaven? If that is the case, God has lied to us. Heaven is supposed to be where we are going to finally be made whole in every area of our lives, including both physically and emotionally. Would it really be heaven, if our kids were looking down on us and feeling totally broken that God decided to allow them to go there before we did, and are angry at God for letting us be in such pain upon their departure from earth? That sounds more like the absence of God, not being in the presence of God.
Several scriptures in the Bible tell us that heaven is where we will be rewarded for how we lived our lives here on earth. (As Christians, we will not be judged, as Christ took that judgment for us.) So are the rewards for our children kept from them until we arrive? And until then, do they have to suffer in heaven with deep sadness, knowing how all we want to do is die and go be with them?
Please believe me when I say I know the pain. I told God to just kill me, because I didn’t want to be here anymore without Becca! But in His totally amazing love and grace, He allowed me to continue here on this earth. Yes, I said that. And I will say it again.
It is His deep love and eternal grace that keeps us here, when all we want to do is be done and go to our eternal home.
Several years down the road, I can honestly say how thankful I am that? God did not answer my plea for death to take me. Why?
- My other children would probably be really struggling if that had happened, even as adults. It has been enough of a struggle with them losing their sister, much less losing Dave and/or me on top of that.
- I am not missing out on watching my children blossom in adulthood. I get to see and be a part of who they are becoming and things like whom they are marrying. (We are actually in the middle of planning a wedding in Uganda for my youngest daughter, and I am so very thankful I am not missing this!)
- I get to love on a bunch more of my grandchildren, who are a huge blessing in my life! Since Becca died, two more have been born, and another two are on the way. These grandchildren are my legacy, and I am excited to be part of their lives! We are all sad that they will never know their Aunt Becca, but they won’t also be sad because they didn’t know their Grandma Lolli and Pop.
- I wouldn’t be here to encourage you!
Along with thousands of other pareavors (bereaved parents), I have turned the corner, and you can, too. You can have HOPE that it won’t always be like this, unless you continue to choose to remain here on earth in the blackness of deep grief.
I know at the beginning there isn’t a choice – grief just overtakes us because death is a huge loss, and the death of a child is not normal (and the most devastating loss we can experience on this earth according to most experts).
But the death of our child is not where God reaches His limits, nor did it blindside God. He has a plan we cannot see. He has light for our darkness, and brings life from death. He can and will help you come out of the darkness and back into light and life again.
It will probably take longer than you want it to, and there can be many “setbacks,” but I can tell you, it is worth the fight, when you are ready to learn how to live again here on earth until you are greeted by your child with a huge hug and the words, “Welcome home!”
Our daughter Becca wrote many worship songs. One of our favorites Before the Throne is etched on the back of her tombstone. It was written while still in her teens, not knowing a few short years later she would actually be worshiping before the throne. If you would like to see a copy of the words, we would be happy to send them your way. Just submit your email address below.