I’ve survived over 2mths without Dad, and I’m still surprised when I wake up each morning and I don’t collapse under the pain of it. Don’t get me wrong, the pain is far far less consuming that it was weeks back, but the dull ache is always there.. and then the deepest of grief & sadness can hit me at the most unexpected moments. It’s the ones in public you need to worry about… note to self, ALWAYS have sunglasses and tissues on you after the loss of a dear loved one.
Besides my grandparents and DH’s parents, I have never dealt with the loss of a loved one, and certainly not to this depth, so with this in mind, a friend suggested I research grief and it’s stages, what’s involved etc etc, so I’ve been doing that, but in a few different ways. First of all, I listen to a LOT of hymns (the rich lyrics are extremely healing) I also started grief devotions in the Bible plans within the YouVersion app, but on a bigger scale, I really felt lead to learn about where Dad is. My first book selection was ‘One minute after you die’ by Erwin W. Lutzer, followed by ‘Heaven’ by Randy Alcorn (I’m currently still reading this, but am on the last chapter), and I’ve also been reading ‘In light of eternity’ by Randy Alcorn while reading ‘Heaven’. I have also listen to the Audiobook fiction book, ‘Deadline’ by Rand Alcorn. (anyone seeing a pattern? ha ha)
Randy’s book on Heaven is, let’s just say, not someone’s first choice for light and fluffy reading. I can honestly say that without a year of bible college and intense bible study practices over the last couple of years, I’m fairly certain I would have put it down during the first few pages, with very little intention of ever picked it up again.
BUT, it really is an amazing read.. especially the second half. It has brought me an unmeasurable amount of comfort to learn so much about where my Dad now resides. It really makes me feel ‘less distant’ from him. Also, it comforts me to have learnt more about the broad possibilities of what Dad could be actually DOING.
I was a bit ashamed to find that I shared a lot of misguided views on heaven that many Christians do. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I thought we lay on clouds all day and listen to harp music, but I am most definitely guilty of thinking it might be boring and thinking exactly how many praise and worship songs can be sung before you’re a little ‘over it’
Of course I’ve read all the verses about the descriptions of Heaven… There are many mansions… roads made of gold. etc etc. but I guess I’ve never put much thought into the nitty-gritty of it. Researching it has been one of the most eye opening, exciting and growth inspiring tasks I have ever undertaken.
My Dad lost his independence a long time ago, he had to give up working, driving, caring for a home… and then more day to day things like showering, toileting, feeding etc became beyond him. So, with this in mind, of course we were all overjoyed that he would be restored to a physically healthy man, able to walk, run, jump and play. What I hadn’t put much thought into was the skills he would have taken into heaven with him. After learning more intensely of the continuity from here on earth into Heaven, it occured to me that Dad will be getting so much joy out of praising The Lord through his carpentry gifting. I did joke about this with Dad in the last few weeks, telling him to not show up Jesus with how clever he was with wood, but it was really a joke.
In all honesty, I probably paired his carpentry skills up with ‘work’, and thought as a general idea that surely we won’t WORK in heaven, as work is no fun. So, it was extremely heartwarming to read and re-discover that God’s original blueprint included work, and it was work that we would ENJOY, giving all Glory to Him in everything we did or produced. It’s only since the fall that work can be hard and unenjoyable. I think that the word ‘work’ itself probably gets a very bad rap since the fall. For example, Rev 22:3 tells us that No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. To serve is a form of work, but it’s one we’ll thoroughly enjoy doing.
Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. I certainly don’t think Adam had any complaints in regards to his workload pre-fall. God Himself is a worker. He didn’t create the world and then retire. In John 5:17, Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working“. John 4:34 shows us Jesus found great satisfaction in His work. “‘My food,’ Jesus said, ‘is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work’”
In the weeks leading up to Dad’s passing, and in the weeks that followed, I would think on those words that Dad would/did hear ‘Well done good and faithful servant’, but reading further on gives it so much more depth. His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV) Or the KJV says it like this His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
I must say, my anticipation of going to heaven has multiplied beyond comprehension since Dad went Home, and it actually only has a small amount to do with seeing him again. That doesn’t play down how much I’m longing to see him again (coz Oh my goodness, what I wouldn’t give for a 2min face-time with him right now.), but simply points out how much more I now long to go.. but far more importantly, how much I want to ensure that as many of my loved ones and friends are there too.
As with many blogs on deep issues, I always get to the end feeling like I’ve only scratched the surface of the surface of this topic, but in this case, all I can say is…. Get your head into the Word and any good scripturally based books on our eternity that you can get your hands on. The biggest thing I’ve loved about Randy’s books is that nearly EVERYTHING is backed up with God’s Word… and for those that don’t have a scripture to ENSURE what he’s proposing about our eternity, he’ll say “I could be wrong on this.” I love that… #humble !!
I can’t finish this blog without this great pic of my Dad… while it’s not known what exactly our bodies are like in the present Heaven, seeing as it’s well documented that our earthly bodies will be resurrected when Jesus comes again, I can only really imagine what Dad looks like now, but we do know that we will have fully resurrected body that resemble us (but WAY BETTER) at our peak…. I think I’ve already said that I have a theory that we’re all 33 in Heaven.. but I don’t have anything to back that up with, so have no idea why I think it. lol. Dad would have been about this age in this pic, so I have it on the front screen of my phone & see it several times throughout the day. It gives me great comfort.
This heart wrenching grief is worth every tear to have lived with the deep love that we shared Dad !! Adds a whole new meaning to the Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Blessings peeps !! xox