When someone that we love passes away, it's not uncommon to hear people say things like, "They're in a better place," "They're looking down on you, and watching you, and they're so proud of you" or "They are your guardian angel now."
It's a comforting thought to think that when someone we love passes away, that they are in Heaven, looking down and watching us. But as a Christian, I know that's not true.
Not long ago, the 10-year anniversary of my father's death came around. Even though it's been 10 years, I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was there with him when he died, at home. It was an odd thing to watch him die and to know that I would never get to see him or talk to him again.
I wasn't a Christian then, so I didn't give much thought to where he would go when he died. But now that I am a Christian, I know that all the well-meaning platitudes that people say, like the ones above, are simply not true.
My father was not a believer. At one time in my early 20s, when I thought I was saved, I tried to have a conversation with my father about what it meant to be a Christian. He told me that he believed in God and that he was going to go to Heaven when he died.
That was the first and only conversation I ever had with him about Heaven, Hell, or God.
I've been a Christian now for about a year and a half. I go to a solid church where the Pastor isn't afraid to talk about the hard stuff that "loose" churches don't want to talk about. My Pastor talks about sin and Hell. And although I try not to think about Hell often, I know it's a real place; and I know that my dad is there.
Eternity is a time frame that most people cannot grasp. We don't have anything to compare it to. For me, waiting for summer vacation is an eternity. If I'm hungry enough, waiting for dinner could feel like that too. But I can't identify with what eternity means. Even my life is but a breath according to the Bible.
It's hard to think about my father spending eternity in Hell, but I believe what the Bible tells me, and I know that for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity there.
I know this sounds like a lot of doom and gloom, and to be sure, it's a sad subject, and one that I don't like to think about often. But it's a subject that has gotten me thinking about evangelism and about what it means to be salt and light in the world.
Without Jesus Christ, people will die in their sin, and those people will spend eternity in Hell, separated from God. The good news of the Bible is that God has sent his son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for our sin, so that we may have a right relationship with God, and spend eternity in Heaven.
Some days here on Earth are hard, and if I'm being honest, there are some days when I wish that the Lord would come back right now and take me home with Him. As horrific as it is to think of Hell for all eternity, it's equally as glorious to think of spending eternity in Heaven, where He will wipe away every tear from my eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things will pass away.
But then I think that God has put me here for a purpose, and I know that part of that purpose is the share the good news of the gospel. I am not always bold in my witness, but I know that I have the opportunity to share and I'm trying harder to take those opportunities when they arise.
It's hard to think that my earthly father will not be there in Heaven to greet me when I eventually arrive. But it's comforting to know that my Heavenly Father will be there to welcome me home with open arms. If like me, you have family members that aren't saved, take every opportunity you can to share the gospel with them. Help them to find their way to eternal life.