One of the most difficult things in life is dealing with the death of a loved one. There is no simple answer for this, or magic cure, but I will try and explain this from 3 points of view that I have gathered in my experience. Our view, the person’s view, and then God’s view. We need to see all sides to see the whole picture, which is often beautiful in context. Think of it as a camera crew filming a movie, with each one filming a different part:
It hurts so bad to see someone that we love pass on. It really shakes our world, and our faith, and sometimes it is sudden and there is just no explaining it. It leaves a hole inside of us, an empty place. I was very close to my Dad. My mom left when I was one and he raised me and my two brothers mostly himself. He was a hard working man that grew up in the great depression and was just the greatest Dad, and I saw him every day for most of my life. He tried each day to see each of his 3 sons, and see if there was some way he could help us. If one of us was clearing land, he would be there with a chain saw. If we were changing the oil in the car, he would climb under the car with us. If one of us was building a deck, or storage building, or even an entire house, he was right there in the middle of it until it was completed. He taught me to rebuild my first car engine, and change the clutch plates in my motorcycle, though he was a carpenter by trade. He seemed fearless and would tackle anything. His motto was “You can do anything that you set your mind to do”.
One day he called us and said he felt a bit dizzy, light headed and his speech did not sound right. That was not the normal for Dad because he would never, ever complain about anything. I had caught him changing the oil in his car while linked to an oxygen tank once without asking for help. The doctor told us later that a few discs between the vertebrae in his neck were entirely gone and that this had to cause terrible pain, but Dad had never even mentioned it to us once. We knew something had to be badly wrong for him to call. Me and my two brothers rushed over and we decided to call an ambulance. He went into the hospital and it turns out that he had a stroke.
We prayed for him and did all that we could, and he slowly got better and was finally ready to come home in a couple of days. But the morning that we were pick him up, the hospital called and said that he had another stroke, went into a coma and was now unresponsive. They moved him to ICU and did what they could but there was no change. After a week they told us that we needed to decide whether to keep him on life support or not. This was certainly the hardest decision that we had ever made, but Dad had told us that he never wanted to be bed ridden and would rather just go on “home” if he couldn’t take care of himself. After this they called the family together and turned off the life support machines. I broke my knee once and it did not hurt nearly as bad as this did, but there was nowhere on earth that I would have rather been at that moment. The family, and his pastor, all stood by praying, sobbing, holding his hand, and hoping for a miracle, and that he would breathe on his own. But it was not to be. His pulse and breathing got slower and slower until the monitor flat lined and the worlds greatest Dad was gone…
I was shocked, hurt, and seemingly in a daze. It all seemed to have happened so fast, and I was not prepared for it, at all… And then we had to plan the funeral, pick out his last clothes, and go through his house. So many people were asking so many questions, it was all a long blur. I could not believe that this was real and I was hoping to wake up from a horrible dream at any time. All I could do at that point was take life one breath at a time to get past all that was going on. After we got past the funeral, life sort of turned back to normal, but with a huge gaping hole in it. They say that grief takes you through five stages, and I experienced them: 1) Shock and Denial 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression 5) Acceptance. Slowly the minutes went by, days went by, weeks went by, months went by, and ever, ever so slowly things started to get better. When I would pray Gods presence was there, but He was silent about it.
If this were a video segment from my view it would have shown a very dark, sad time in my life.
The Person’s View
Once while I was fervently praying for a young brother who was in a coma, I had a vision. In that vision I saw him in heaven, healthy, smiling and happy, and he did not want to come back. Meanwhile in the ICU we were in tears and shaking, and his physical body had all sorts of problems and tubes everywhere, but there he had the most peaceful look on his face, and he was completely content where he was. He had finished his race and was resting and waiting for the rest of us… When I asked him to come back he just shook his head and smiled. The look on his face spoke volumes as I had never saw such peace in someone. Death is so traumatic for those of us left behind, but for those that crossed over it is a peaceful thing. To be out of our body, is to be present with the Lord, just that fast, instantly.
2 Cor 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. KJV
If you have seen the movie “Ghost (1990)” with Patrick Swayze, I believe that is a close picture of death. Your spirit just appears outside of your body, and you are present with the Lord. No pain, no more suffering, just peace. (Now the rest of the movie is not very accurate because we do not continue to run around on earth as he did as far as I know!). But see Sam Wheat, in the movie, was still fully “Sam Wheat”. He had his entire personality, likes, dislikes, attitude, the only thing missing was his physical frame, which is just a “house” for our spirit to dwell in.
Phil 1:21-24 For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying-well, that’s better yet! 22 But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! 23 Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! 24 But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! ~TLB
When Job went through testing and lost all of his sons, daughters and live stock, God later returned all of it double, except his children. Why? Because they were still “Alive”, just in heaven. God blessed him with 10 more children, so by Gods count He doubled Jobs children as well.
Job 1:2 And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys ~AMP
Job 42:12-13 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. ~AMP
Physical death is nothing but a transition for us, completely natural and a part of the life process. They have no more pain, no more suffering, and they have lost nothing, but gained everything. They are more “alive” than ever before because only the physical body has died, not their personality or spirit, that is eternal and will never die. It is like a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. They still have their entire family, the ones that have already passed on are there with them, like their great grandparents. And the ones that have not arrived yet, like their children, are some day on the way. If they could say anything back to us, they would probably be concerned and it would be: “Be Ready!” for we do not know what the next hour holds for our life. Their future is now secure and one day we will see them again. If this were a video segment it would have shown a very happy time in their life, their graduation ceremony.
God views death completely different, see this life is just temporary for all of us. We all want to go to heaven, but none of us want to die to get there. God knows (when we are saved) that we will always be with Him and nothing can separate us from the love of God. This life is just a class, and some will move along faster than others. Death is merely graduation. Death = Graduation. This life is not the END goal, it is a race track. It is a bit like God and a “Great cloud” of witnesses sit behind a glass and watch us run this course. Everything that we see here around us is temporary, and the things that we cannot see are eternal.
2 Cor 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. KJV
Heb 12:1 So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us CJB
If life were a bicycle wheel, we would be out on one spoke labeled “Today”. But God sits in the center of the wheel and can see down all the spokes at once. He can see the end from the beginning and the beginning at the end. He can see our entire life at once, which is sometimes why we do not get some of the things that we ask for in prayer. He may see that next month something much better is coming for us, much better than we could even ask for at this moment. And that person that we view as a potential mate, and are praying to notice us, would just be in the way when the right one comes along for us next month.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. The bible says that He knit us together in our mother’s womb, and knows how many hairs are on our heads. And He loves and cares for us. When we pass on He does take notice:
Ps 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. ~NKJV
Jesus after ascending to heaven sat down at the right hand of the Father. But later, when Stephen was stoned to death, Jesus stood:
Mark 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and He sat down at the right hand of God. ~AMP
Acts 7:55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand; ~AMP
In time God will abolish death forever and we will not have to be concerned with it any longer. Death’s time is counting down.
Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. ~AMP
If this were a video segment it would have shown an awesome video of how we were designed, our abilities and gifts chosen, our sense of humor added, our personality formed, our parents chosen for us, our birth and then on through our life and it’s accomplishments along with all of our choices, both good and bad, onto our graduation ceremony, and completing with our welcome home party where we are rejoined with our family, friends and loved ones in eternity.
He cares for YOU! And He has a plan and purpose for each us to live out. Humans are never an “accident” but every life is designed by the Almighty Himself, crafted with His own hands in pure love. But it is your choice to involve Him in your life daily and let His Holy Spirit guide you into what He has for you. It will be the most satisfying life that you could ever hope for. And when your time on earth is done, Jesus will be waiting for you with open arms.
* Notes: I know that not everyone will make it into heaven. I do believe that some people that you think will be there, may not. And others that you do not think would, will be there. But, I have no say in who goes and who does not and just pray that I make it myself. So in that light, I kept this message positive as I feel that the last thing that a grieving person needs to hear is someone spouting hell at them…Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org