- Religion and Philosophy
It has been said that the day we are born, we have an appointment with the day of our death. But then what?
Heaven, hell, eternity... what should I believe, do I need to believe anything?
As human beings, we are all terminal.
Nothing we can do or say will prevent this life from one day ending. From the moment we are born, our days are numbered. We may live to be a ripe old age, or we may not.
As much as we think we have control over these matters, we simply do not.
We have all heard of extremely healthy athletes, who never smoke, drink or eat unhealthy foods, dying at a young age of a massive heart attack. On the contrary, we also know the elderly person who never knew to eat healthy or exercise, will tell you they can't wait to die, and yet, they haven't?
This life that we live is not our own.
When we are born, when we die...not our decision.
This life, I have learned, is not in our own control
When I came to this conclusion, years ago, I was then faced with the question, "who is in control of our life?
Are we merely like machines that eventually stop working? Science has said that the human body is one of the most remarkable machines ever created.
Whom then is our creator?
I was brought up to believe in God. And I did. I believed and revered the God in Heaven, but I thought He spent his days and nights keeping track of my rights and wrongs. I was a pretty good girl, so I was not worried about not making it to heaven.
As I got older, my choices were not always good, nor were they Godly. I had a lot of fun, and made some terrible choices, but it wasn't until I made those bad choices, that I began to question my beliefs.
As I sat in church one Saturday evening, I began to wonder if it was all worth it. What if I had done the most unpardonable sin and my list of rights and wrongs was tilting toward "terribly wrong" and no entry to Heaven?
This was a horrifying thought. I didn't know how I would find the answer.
Shortly after, I believe God intervened once again. I met a new guy. He was different than anyone I had dated... interestingly, he too was in a position of wanting more answers from God. We tried a few churches together, but still no answers. We then attended a non-denominational church and the pastor said these simple words at the end of this service, "if you confess your sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9) and that "He remembers our sins no more" (Hebrews 10:12-17) -- and finally, the pastor said "For God so loved the world he sent his only son, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life". (John 3:16)
The floodgate opened and I confessed my sins, and accepted God’s son Jesus into my heart as my savior. The feeling of peace was like nothing I had ever experienced. Dale also repented and accepted the Lord into his heart. We both felt like new people, and in fact, we were “born again”.
I had always believe in God, always knew He had a son named Jesus, but I did not know that believing in Jesus was the ticket to eternal life!
Without a doubt, God answered my prayers of doubt and directed us to the right church, the right pastor to speak the truth into our lives.
The guy that God sent during my time of seeking the truth was a blessing to my life. You might say we took the next three years and "grew up" together. As God would have it, we went on to get married. The day of our wedding was one of the most miraculous and peace-filled days of my life. I was marrying my best friend, and we were yoked emotionally and spiritually. Our lives together a complete blessing from God. We also have three amazing children, without a doubt, they are our special gifts from God. Each child’s birth was the result of unique circumstances that made their life miraculous. Each child has an obvious and special calling on their life as a result
I would love to tell you that everything has been peace-filled and easy since then, but as you may expect, it hasn’t.
Life has a way of dealing some hard blows, and we have a choice. To face the problem and pray for resolution, or to let the problem take over. My faith in God did not only free me from a life of doubting my eternal existence, it also allowed me to turn to God in prayer and wait for Him to see me through.
My latest heart break is the death of my mom. God has given me an amazing husband who is also my best friend, I am blessed beyond imagination to work with another amazing woman, and best friend, my sisters are some of my best friends, but my mother… well, and she was more than a mother. She was not just one of my best friends, she was my go to person.
The past 5-10 years of our lives, we spent so much time together. She was there for me, I was there for her. Lunch, Starbucks, shopping, we did it all together. When she died suddenly March 30, of this year, I didn’t know how I would ever be ok. I didn’t know if my children would ever be ok. We loved her so deeply, she was larger than life. So filled with love and joy!
Immediately after her death, suddenly, once again, my faith was shaken.
Would I see her again?
Was I good enough to join her in Heaven one day?
My head was doubting what years of faith had taught me.
"For God so loved the world he sent his only son, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life". (John 3:16)
I missed my mom so much, my heart literally felt broken. It hurt some days as if I too was having a massive heart attack. How could I do this without her?
Again, I wish I could tell you it was a simple fix, but it has not been. I cry out to God, and ask Him to help me through, because only He can. I talk with my husband, my siblings, my God given friends to try to come to terms with our loss. I pray, and pray and pray.
Talking it through has been such therapy. God has sent amazing friends to bring words of comfort and truth. This has been such a big part of my healing.
My mom often told me that our kids have it so much better than we had life as children. She said that we talk things through more, and that things are open for discussion with this generation. When she grew up, things just weren't discussed freely. As a result, her parenting style was often silent when it came to difficult subjects. She would say that my kids are blessed and that I was a good mother. I would remind her that I had a good teacher.
I found myself crying with my kids, just when I was having a decent day emotionally. They would have questions, and I wouldn't always have answers. I found that my kids questions were very often the same questions/struggles I was having. I didn't like not always having answers, but I pointed them back to our faith and believing that God has it all under control.
I also realized I needed to be strong and move on in faith because my mom also left behind her husband of almost 62 years. My dad and mom met when they both attended a one room school house. The story goes that my dad in sixth grade, winked at my mom in Kindergarten. Years later, they both grew up and fell in love. Sixty one plus years, seven children and forty grandchildren later. They have created a legacy of love.
My dad is sad, he tries to be strong, but now he too is scared and doubting. We talk and I explain that I went through these feelings when my mom first died. He says in his heart he knows he will see her again, but he is scared. He wishes she could communicate and tell him she is ok. He said they talked before she died and agreed whichever one went on to be with the Lord first, would contact the other so that they knew the other was ok. I told my dad that I thought that mom was probably limited in what she is able to do … and that God could probably encourage us with signs that she is ok, but I wasn’t sure if she could actually communicate with him. I reminded him of the story of the Rich man and Lazarus.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. Luke 16:19-31
So it is that as I talk to my dad about his fears and uncertainties that I find my own faith reaching deeper and reminding me of all of the amazing ways God has come through for me, for us, in our lives.
The days of doubt will most likely come, but my heart is filled with certainty that my mom is alive and better than ever… and that we will spend an eternity catching up with what happened when she left this world and began her eternal existence.
Father God, please give mom a hug for me and one for daddy. Tell her we miss her and can’t wait to see her again. Help me to be there for my dad and give me the words to reassure him when he is sad and lonely. No turning back God, we put our faith in you and you alone! Love Tami