Heaven’s Hope

Mommy, if I get sick and have to go to the hopstable… do I still come back?

Yes honey.

If I die, do I still come back?

Well, not exactly.  But kind of.  

Will me and you and daddy and Zachary be together when we die?

Hopefully?

Can I have my blankie in heaven?

Um…

For whatever reason, my three year old daughter is intrigued with the concepts of death and dying right now and her questioning has brought me to a crisis point in my faith.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Does he mean it?

When Mary and later the apostles testify to the resurrected Jesus, can I truly believe this?  It was over 2,000 years ago for crying out loud and NO ONE has it on video.

When Paul wrote these words to Titus,

He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life

did he really know what the heck he was talking about?  Was the Holy Spirit actually speaking through this random letter written from one pastor to another?

Two truths are clear to me about life and death, not sure if they are universally true or just for me, but here they are…

The first is this:  With the exception of those fleeting moments of frailty in our lives (due to freak accidents, lost loved ones and an unexpected diagnosis) human nature is to live as though we are both immortal and invincible.  In general, we simply don’t think about the possibility definitiveness that death is coming for us today or tomorrow or in 20 short years, let alone what will happen after the fact.  It doesn’t influence much of our day to day lives.

A result of this unwillingness, or perhaps human inability, to fathom my own death has made it so my belief in the eternal life offered by Jesus is mostly a cognitive belief.

There are many fruits and joys and hopes that I enjoy today because of Jesus Christ, because they are relevant for today.  Death and eternity, for the reason I just mentioned, is just not one of them.

The second truth is this:  Mothers worry endlessly about their children and imagine all sorts of horrendous incidents and illnesses befalling their littlest loves.

Every fever,

Every tragedy on the nightly news,

Every nightmare diagnosis read about on the Internet threatens to become reality for the two little people sleeping across the hall from me. These two little people I love more than my own life, my own breath, my own safety and possibly even more than my own eternity

So, when Evangeline asks me her little girl important questions about what will happen to her after she dies, the belief I claim is urgently struggling to leave the cerebral – because I do fear her dying in ways that I don’t imagine or fear for myself – and enter my heart and soul and will.

It is relevant to me, today, whether she will be rotting in the ground for an eternity, or balancing on Jesus’ knee in Paradise when that day comes.

This belief I have needs to be more than cognitive.

I need hope.  True hope.  I need it for Evangeline and I need it for Zachary.

Therapeutic religious answers won’t cut it.

After Evangeline’s latest inquiries about the afterlife I took a few moments to myself.  Do I believe this?   I have entrusted myself to God’s Word, to God himself, to faith in The Faithful One.

Can I entrust my children in the same way?

I believe, help my unbelief.

Yes, baby.

Jesus says that God has a big house waiting in Heaven, with your own room and Jesus is getting it ready for you.  Remember, For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son Jesus so that whoever believes in him won’t parish, but have eternal life.

Isn’t that good news?

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