When a loved one has passed away, we hear, “Sorry for your loss.” Of course, we understand the phrase and sentiment behind those words. It’s an appropriate thing to say. The people left behind will grieve their loss—each in his own way.
A friend’s wife passed away, and many people said the same thing to him. He replied, “I didn’t lose my wife; I know where she is.” And, it’s true. This woman is with Jesus in heaven. Her husband knows her whereabouts.
Loss and grief, mourning, anger, and feelings of guilt over “what ifs” and “I wish I had” are part of everyone’s experience.
Death is certain. There’s no getting away from that awful consequence of sin. Everyone, sooner or later, will pass on. The Bible says, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
And, we who are left behind grieve the loss of the people we love. It’s important to allow ourselves to process grief, recognize its phases, and by God’s grace, move forward—though we will always miss him.
I’d like to address the two kinds of loss:
- Loss with hope
- Loss forever
I personally have been through both kinds, and I can tell you it is much easier to face the loss of a loved one when I know I’ll see that person again. What I’m talking about is the difference between knowing you’re going to heaven and that your loved one is already there, and not being sure where your loved one is.
Let me insert a parenthesis. Only God can judge a heart. If your loved one has heard the gospel, you probably don’t know for sure whether or not he always rejected God’s mercy. Only God knows the heart. We may suppose that someone rejected salvation until the very end, but we probably can’t know for sure if that person cried out to the Lord for salvation in his last moments of consciousness or not. Only God knows.
Someone who’s gone ahead to heaven doesn’t have pain anymore. He’s also sinless, thanks to Jesus. He is joyful, praising, and has no need of anything. Though we grieve the loss down here on earth, we have the wonderful promise that we will see him again. We have the assurance that they’re in a better place and can even rejoice through our tears. 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 (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
I’ve attended the funerals of several people who seemed not to have any interest whatsoever in the Lord, who lived their lives in the pursuit of pleasure and chained to addictions, and who—from what we could tell—rejected God until the end of their lives. (One probably never heard the gospel; the others had.) These are the saddest occasions. (Again, we’re not God, and only He knows if those who had heard the gospel responded at the very end of their lives.) As a born again person, I don’t know that I will ever see them again. I grieved profoundly.
The most important thing you can do for your family is make sure you know you’re going to heaven when you die and to help your family know, as well. You can know. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).
Do you have eternal life? Have you believed on Jesus? Have you accepted His payment for your sins?
Before your passing, make sure your family knows where to find you. Make sure your new home will be heaven.