God has put eternity in our hearts. On September 22, 2012, eternity took on a new level of meaning for me as I stood beside my dad’s hospital bed. After a week of medical ups and downs that were a result of a medical emergency that doctors could not explain or define, I stood in that private room of the hospital’s intensive care unit with my family and watched the best man from my wedding and the “Papa” to my little one slowly take his last breath.
A calm stillness came to rest in that room. Cries from family members seemed distant. I felt numb.
As I stood there beside that bed holding my dad’s hand, I watched his face and chest praying another breath would come. I felt the waves of emotion grow within me. Tears filled my eyes.
Almost immediately, a comfort from these scriptures came to mind:
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me [Jesus Christ]. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
In that moment, eternity took on a whole new level of meaning in my mind. For on that day of September 22, 2012, my dad had entered Paradise. I miss him so much. Some days, the waves of grief sweep over me leaving tears streaming down my cheeks. And in this moments of sadness, I still trust God. I trust His promise recorded in Scripture that in that instantaneous moment of Dad’s death, he opened his eyes on the other side of the “valley of the shadow of death” to see the sweet face of his Lord and Savior. To be absent from his body, Dad now celebrates being present with the Lord.
Eternity in Our Hearts
Jonathan Edwards writes, “It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven…to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?”
Eternity holds a new level of meaning for me now as I intentionally live life as a journey toward heaven. To be present with our Lord, the One who gave His all to conquer sin and death to make it possible for any of us to enter Paradise.
To be reunited with Dad, a man who now stands tall, whole and strong. I can only imagine what our reunion will be. Will I run to him and hold him? Or, will I cry tears of joy to finally be able to squeeze his neck and tell him again how much I love him? Or in the wondrous beauty of Heaven, will I simply approach him and watch him turn to me, smile, and say, “Son, it’s so good to have you home.”?
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For anyone interested, the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn, has provided a great resource and encouragement to me during these recent years of grief. From the author’s 20+ years of biblical research on “Heaven”, he provides great insight in the pages of this book that bring eternity to a new light and even sparks my own imagination. “Real people with real bodies enjoying relationships with God and each other.”
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