When a major life event suddenly occurs – like a death in the family, a job loss, or an out of the blue health diagnosis – how do you respond?
The degree to which your relationship with the God of the Bible is strong will make all the difference in the world as to how you react to life’s difficult circumstances.
Three week ago I lost my 97 year-old Dad to a year-long bout with congestive heart failure. Fortunately Dad experienced a minimal amount of severe suffering in his last day of life here on this earth. Although my heart has been sad with the loss, it is overridden by peace and joy knowing that Paul’s soul is now with Jesus in heaven.
Over the years my Dad and I would talk about the relationship that he had with God. I know that Paul had accepted Jesus as his Savior and that he was intentional in living a life that pleased God. He read his Bible regularly. In his last few years he faithfully watched sermons by Charles Stanley on the television. He was a regular at the men’s Bible Study in the retirement home where he lived. He loved God and demonstrated that love by loving others!
Paul and I shared the same Christian beliefs and loved the same God. His life was grounded in biblical principles. The same principles that I try to live my life by. He had been hospitalized for two weeks in the Fall of 2017. I was blessed to be at his bedside to care for him. And I was also blessed to be able to have conversations with him about his eternal destiny, based on biblical truths.
So, because I am absolutely sure that Paul is in heaven with Jesus, I can be at peace. In fact, I can have joy deep in my heart. This perspective is only possible because of two reasons. First, Paul’s life lined up with the truths found in the Bible. He chose to invite Jesus to be his Savior and Lord and to live according to His ways. Second, I also have a strong relationship with the God of the Bible and with His Son. And I know the truths that are found in the Bible regarding what happens when a Christ follower dies.
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:11-13
Sure some days my heart is sad because I miss my Dad. But I am not grief-stricken. I am not in despair. Jesus is my strength and my hope. I’m able to trust that God is in control and that he is a good God!
How about you? If you were to experience a significantly difficult circumstance in your life tomorrow, how would you respond? Would you be ready?
My Dad was a fun-loving man. One of his favorite songs was Everything its Beautiful, by Ray Stevens.
I can imagine that when Paul entered heaven that he looked around and proclaimed, “It sure is beautiful up here!”