Graduation Day

Photo welcoming to heavenI am reminded of the fact that we lost our son in this same month, April, 2004 and it was such a tragic loss to our family.  My own son was taken before I was.  How was I going to respond to this?  How was I to think with the mind of Christ and respond in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord?  How do I get a hold of the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to comfort me in my greatest hour of need?

It seems that most everyone is afraid to die, even a few Christians.  People are afraid because of the uncertainty of where they are really going, will they live again after they die, and where will they end up.  Most do not have the “blessed assurance” of going home to heaven, a place that has been prepared for us.

 As Christians we are not to be afraid to leave this planet, but rejoice that now we can finally end our journey here and go ahead into a wonderful, blessed sinless, new state of perfection and be free from all the cares that this world brings our way.

 Here we are faced with our faith in action, when we either lose someone whom we love dearly, or are told that we ourselves are going to die soon.  We so often proclaim our great faith to others, and tell others how they need to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but how do we respond when we are the ones who are faced with the great trial and testing of our faith?

Here we have to make the decision when one of the two above things are told to us.  That a loved one has died or that we ourselves are about to die.  Of course it is only natural to be shocked, cry and mourn, be bewildered, shaken to the core, sad, depressed (momentarily), try to figure out why this happened, and many other emotions that we all as humans go through, but in the end, we must yield.

Here we have the opportunity to show God that we really do TRUST Him with our lives, our loved ones and all that we have so valiantly proclaimed that we trusted Him with.  Now we are put to the test.  Can we actually trust Him if we are told that we are going to die soon?  Can we actually trust Him when we are told that our child has just died?  Without faith it is impossible to please God the Bible says.  And if life is a test, and if life is to build our character into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and if this life on earth is merely boot camp; which is to train us in order to fight the good fight of faith on this earth, then go to our heavenly reward and our real home in glory, then we must surely trust that God knows what He is doing.  Are not Christian’s lives and the lives of the ones that they love in His hands?  Have we not committed ourselves over to Him to do with us as He wills and said many times to the Lord, “You do whatever You think is best for us and our loved ones dear Lord.”  Is God incapable of making right decisions?  Of course not.  He only makes perfect decisions on our behalf.  He knows exactly the hour of each one of us to go home to be with Him.  He knows when we have passed our tests, and are the most ready to be taken home.

I know that my son was at the peak of his spiritual life as far as the work that God had done in his heart just before he was taken home.  If he had stayed any longer perhaps he might have gone backwards and lost all the ground that he gained and that God had done in him.  Perhaps he would have gone into the world and turned away from Jesus, who knows, but I do trust and know that God does all things well and He is in full control of all of us.  He knows what He is doing and why.  It is not for us to question Him, but to surrender to His will and believe! 

I was able to go through Steven’s death because of my absolute commitment to the fact that I really do believe that God know what is best and what He is doing.  I know I am just the clay and not the Potter, and I am not to question Him.  He is my loving Father and what child should question their father?

God did give us little comforts along the way after Steven’s death.  For example, Steven had just been up a month earlier to celebrate his father’s birthday and he slept in our guest room.  He use to smoke and so the smell of tobacco was left in the comforter that was on his bed.  After he died, before the funeral in L.A., I went and laid on the bed and wept and wept and I could smell the smell of the cigarettes in the comforter.  It was a comfort to me just to be able to smell this smell in the covers, because it made me feel close to him.  Then we went to the funeral.  And when we came back, once again I went into the guest room and laid on the bed.  But this time was different.  As I laid there weeping, I did not smell the cigarette smell any longer but instead I smelled a beautiful perfume smell coming out of the covers.  Then I heard the Lord say to my spirit, something like “Steven is no longer in bondage to this world, but now he has become a sweet smelling savor to Me.”  Wow!  I ran and got my husband to come and smell.  He too could smell the smell and acknowledged that I had not made it up or that it was my imagination.  We rejoiced in the Lord kindness to us to give us this comfort.  A short time later I went back to smell it again, and it was GONE.  No smell of ANY kind was left in the blanket.

Now that my son is in heaven, I do so look forward to seeing him.  I can’t wait to go to heaven and leave this world and all its earthly cares and mundane concerns behind.  Shortly after we had lost Steven, we went to a get away at a bed and breakfast.  I had been asking the Lord what it was like to die and where did we go right after we die.  I wanted to know what Steven was experiencing right now.  Well, one night at the bed and breakfast, very late at night, I looked across the room and saw a little table.  On the little table I saw a book that looked like a Bible.  I said, “Is that a Bible on the table?”  And so I went over to look.  Sure enough, it was a Bible, but not only that, there was a little book on the table called “lntra Muros” or “My Dream of Heaven”, by Rebecca Ruter Springer.  Oh I was so excited.  We stayed up all night reading that little booklet together, crying and being encouraged.  Perhaps this book had some of the answers that I had been searching for.  And to my own heart, it certainly did.

 I have now come to realize that perhaps the things written in the book were not actual things that we are to believe, but none the- less it was a comfort to read about heaven especially at that time.

 I do however recommend a book written by Randy Alcorn from Gresham, OR called “Heaven”.  He said that he spent some 20 years researching the scriptures to find out all that the Bible says about heaven, and it seems to be quite scriptural with lots of scriptural references and makes a lot of good sense.  It answers many questions that we might have about heaven, and he seems to give a good explanation about them.

 We have also stayed up nights and my husband, Jim, would read me a chapter each night from it before we went to sleep. ( I had really read the entire book myself before this, but wanted him to read it so I that I could know what he thought about it, thus I asked him to read it to me each night).

 We both really thought it seemed quite possible that the things that were written in Randy’s book were a good possibility of being true (at least in most instances) and made a lot more sense than a lot of books and movies and TV shows about heaven. 

 In regards to going to heaven, just think no more elections, no more terror attacks, no more wars, no more car accidents, no more bills, no more cooking, no more cleaning, no more having to go to work to earn money, no traffic (ha ha), wounds and painful experiences, but I just love the Scripture in Hebrews 12:22-23, “No, you have come to Mt Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels in joyful assembly, You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God himself, who is the judge of all people.  And you have come to the spirits of the redeemed in heaven who have now been made perfect.”  Wow!  To be perfect!  No misunderstands, no more arguments over things, because we will all be perfect in all we do, say and think!  Can you imagine how wonderful that will be. 

 So the only conclusion we can really draw from the death of our loved ones, or ourselves is to envy them; that they get to go home quicker than we do and get out of boot camp!

 Once my husband preached at a funeral.  In it he mentioned that it was not a day to be sad about, but rejoice in the fact that our loved one, or ourselves, gets to graduate!  When we go to high school or college and finish the course (finish our race) then comes graduation day!  Recognition is given to those who have really applied themselves and everyone receives their diplomas.

 Then a brand new life begins for them!  All that hard work and passing their tests correctly has come to an end, and now they step into newness of life.  So it is with us as well.  We will graduate, after going through our training by passing our tests, and begin our new lives (now made perfect) with our heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit forever!  He has a mighty plan for us awaiting, and a crown of glory awaiting us if we do things right, and rewards for the “deeds done in the flesh”.  He also has a new name for us, robes of righteousness, new and perfectly whole bodies, wipe away all tears, forgives all our sins and prepared a dwelling place for us.  WOW! What a blessed inheritance awaits us in His kingdom! 

 Death is nothing to fear.  The hardest thing is leaving our loved ones behind.  We think that they can’t get along without us and what will they do?  But we are not indispensable dear ones.  God knows that if we are truly needed down here, He would keep us down here longer, so our family members and loved ones must be able to get along without us.  He has a plan for their lives too and will take perfect care of them.  And with that in mind, then we can be free to look upward, heaven bound, and look forward to what is just ahead for us up there.  Meeting Jesus, falling at His precious feet and crying wiping His feet with our hair in thankfulness for all that He has done for us.  Then, seeing and being reunited with loved ones who have gone on before us, each of us now made perfect.  We will be able to get along with each one so beautifully then. 

 So let us change our thinking about death of either ourselves or our loved ones, and see the glory that awaits us all, this will bring us the comfort we need to go through the greatest trial we probably will ever face.

 A dream I had: (could or could not be true)

 I had a dream several weeks again and it was a very vivid dream to me.  I was taken to a place much like the one I just described, but I was told, there is no buying here, or spending up here, thus no need for money and having to go out and work to earn money to buy the things you need or want.  Thus many sins are eliminated in the heart of man because there is no more striving, no more jealousy, no more greed, no more lust for things, and so forth.  I was told, “You just think of what you want and it is there.”  I said, “Oh can I ask for a ladies’ tea party with a beautiful table all set for the ladies to come to?”  And boom!  It was there right in front of me.  Then when the tea party is over, or whenever you are through using something, it disappears.  No clean up, no mess, no work to put it all away.  You can THINK and it comes into play and then is gone again when you have no need for it any longer.  I don’t know why I had this dream??? but it sure would be neat!  I believe it was not an ordinary dream.  I keep asking the Lord what heaven is like, and perhaps this was also part of the answer to my question. 

 If you, yourself, have a testimony of losing someone dear to you, or you yourself have been pronounced with something terminal and have had to deal with this in your heart and mind, and now have something to share with us, in order to encourage others who are going through these same things; then please write to me and I will put your testimony on my site for others to be able to benefit from your experience as well.