I think one of the hardest questions my children have asked me is will we see someone we have lost to this life that is near and dear to us in heaven. I have even myself wondered from time to time will I my see daddy in heaven? Did my mom die knowing God? These are hard questions, because frankly I don’t know. God knows but I do not. Ultimately God is the only one who knows for certain if we have given our life’s to him. He knows our circumstances and our mental state and He alone passes this judgement upon each and every one of us.
I know my dad knew about God. He knew the important morals and commandments. He constantly drilled these into me and my siblings. While I haven’t done a very good job of upholding most of these, my daddy’s words have resonated guilt in my mind when I have failed. I never saw my father pray. Not even once. Did he know our Lord when he died? My mom went to a Christian school as a child. The same one my children now attend. She occasionally said she wished she had gotten my younger brothers into church at a young age, but had she given her life to Christ when she passed? Did she ever truly accept Christ as her savior?
Hopefully it will a long time before I know the answers. It isn’t too late however for me to make sure that my children don’t have to ask this question when I die. I pray with them almost every night before tucking them in. We have the hard talks about what is right and wrong and how to react to those who aren’t so nice. Hopefully they will grow up with a strong “sense” of God in them.
Now my children ask if their father will be heaven some day. Frankly I don’t know. I hope so, but I also know he believes living a mostly good life, believing there is a God and Creator is about all you need. I asked him once about a year ago when the last time he prayed was, and his answer was ” I don’t need to do that I believe in God”. When we talk about his grandma he is confident that she is heaven despite the fact I never had one of these conversations with her -his difinite answer is something to the effect of she even gave him his bible as a child and there could be no greater a women. Both of these thing are true, but they still not reveal to us whether she had a personal relationship with God.
This topic has been recently at the foremost of our minds due to our recent loss of our faithful companion and friend. Jewels was my husbands dog when I met him, but from day one she was a family member. She accepted the addition of both of children good with good nature. She never once snapped or growled or was anything but pleasant with our children despite being older when they came into her life. Our son was rough on the old girl, but even when old age and hip displasia had well settled in she was loving and kind and would merely move away from an offending action.
Jewels and I, however didn’t always get along real well. While she was never downright mean to me she simply wasn’t accepting of me taking what she saw as her place in my husbands life. The truth is while she fought hard to keep this place- I have never and probably will never be loved as much by my husband as he loved Jewels.
The last few years, and particularly months as her health deteriorated and mine as well I can honestly say Jewels and I forged a lopsided sort of friendship. If I ate, she ate. If I cooked bacon she usually was given my portion. I even fed her directly off my fork more than a few times in the last few months. Company would even notice she didn’t leave my side during meal time until I had finished my plate and she had licked it clean.
I know confidently that while she did cause many disturbances that I didn’t enjoy at the time, that I will fondly tell stories involving Jewels antics for years to come. Many a time did I have to trick her into thinking we were going for a ride- actually putting her in my car and driving 200 feet from the barn to the house to get her to come back inside as she just wouldn’t listen to me. Eventually Jewels stopped accepting car rides from as I cried wolf one to many times. Then there was bed time. While she was mostly being playful it was not uncommon for Jewels to kick my out of bed to reclaim her spot. She would growl and bite at me playfully until my husband made her stop and take her new place at our feet. If I got up to pee in the middle of the night she would knock my pillow and covers off of my side of the bed and take up residence in “my spot”. More than once I retreated to the couch, as with my husband asleep there was no one who could command her to move. Then while I was pregnant with our son I would wake up in the middle of night to find I couldn’t move. Jewels would lay all 80-90 pounds of herself directly on top of me.
“Will we see Jewels if we make it to heaven mommy?” Well guys I’m sorry but I do not know for certain. I certainly hope so. I can see from personal experience with dogs in particular that they are not completely different from people. They have free will. Their bodies contain a mind and a spirit and they seem to think, even if not as complexly as us. They can be taught right from wrong, and if you can find a person more loyal than a good dog then you should count them as the best kind of friend. The Bible however, seems to make limited references to animals in heaven, though there are a few verses that indicate that all types of animals may be there, and that they will get along!
The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isiah 65:25 NIV
My question to today is where are your Jewels? Are you storing up wealth and things that you can’t take with you instead of ensuring you will see your loved ones someday? If you are not 100% sure of where your Jewels are then it’s time to have a heartfelt conversation with God- he wants you to be sure.
My hope is that your children, family and friends know where they are going when it is their time to leave this life. I also hope that they know where you are going when they lay you to rest. I feel like if we are truly following God in our lives this will not be a question for a our loved ones and family members.
I do realize however, especially with men it can be difficult to open up and talk about these things. Praying with your family can feel embarrassing. You may even feel like if your prayers don’t sound right, they are too simple or that your family will doubt they are genuine and heartfelt. The truth is they will feel as awkward as you do to begin with. Children don’t usually notice if your prayers seem to simple, and in fact the simple prayers maybe the best start to helping then learn how to pray.
I want to challenge you this week to take just a few minutes to pray with your spouse and children. Maybe your afraid to ask them to pray with you, just let them know that you desire to show your love for God with them and that if they do not wish to participate that is ok but you are going to pray for them. It may feel silly or you may think your family knows you believe. Rather than thinking they know make sure they do.
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness” Titus 2:7 NIV