I was babysitting my neighbor’s 5-year-old daughter this morning, and while we were playing with her dolls she told me that she had a secret. Since I watch a lot of crime television and Law & Order: SVU, I was immediately preparing for her to tell me the worst (that she’d tell me she was being abused). She came over and whispered in my ear, “Where’s your mommy?” I only had seconds to consider what would be the best thing to tell her with her being so young, and I didn’t want to give a response that would be too sad or possibly lead to more awkward or difficult questions for me to have to answer, so I told her that my mommy was in heaven. When I said this her eyes got bigger and she responded excitedly “oh wow, that’s the best place to be!” Taken aback by this unexpected statement, I replied, “Yes, it is,” and asked, “do you know why it’s the best place to be?” She confidently responded, “because that’s where God lives.”
I love that her immediate response to learning that heaven is where my mom was now was not sadness or grief, but rejoicing at the goodness of being with God. Her simple, childlike perspective, the kind that Jesus Himself teaches the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who possess it, was a balm to my soul that morning.
I love how peace-filled and reassuring it is for me to be able to say that my mom is with the Lord where there are no more tears, pain, or suffering, and know it is true because of her faith. What a wonderful promise and hope that believers have to cling to on this side of heaven.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shileded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials . These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.I Peter 1:3-8 (NIV)
This came as an unexpected and grace-filled reminder that I didn’t know I needed as the holiday season approaches – that in the absence of my mom here at all of the family gatherings and passing birthdays and celebrations, her presence is in the very best place it could be – in the company of the author and perfecter of our faith, the true and living God, who is making all things new.
* I found this post on the aforementioned childlike perspective to be helpful for understanding.