My grandfather died when I was 21 years old.
I loved him dearly, so it was a painful time for me.
In the summer, we would visit Nana and Grampy every weekend and on Dad’s vacation, we’d be there for two to three weeks. I would follow Grampy around his farm, pretending to spit tobacco just like him.
Nana was a faithful Christian woman who went to church almost every Sunday. We went to church with her when we visited.
Gramps didn’t go to church, so I equated that with Grampy not going to heaven.
I remember one night as a seven year old boy, crying myself to sleep praying to God that he take Grampy to heaven when he died, because I couldn’t stand the thought of him being tormented in hell for ever and ever.
As an adult, attempting to be a faithful Christian, I read the Bible. A few years ago, I came across two verses that tell us to “receive heaven like a little child” and that “God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy.”
I can’t explain the feeling, even at 48, but I firmly believe my grandfather is in heaven because of what God tells us in those two verses. I don’t know how He did it. Christ may have showed himself to Grampy similar to how he did with Paul on the road to Damascus. Either way, I am certain that Grampy is with God now.
When we lose a loved one, and believe in God, we want to know whether they are in heaven.
In the New Testament, Paul writes in Acts 1:25 “…show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”
Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus (and hung himself afterward), yet Paul did not feel qualified to judge whether Judas went to heaven or hell.
Even if you are a Christian, you have no right to tell somebody where their loved one is after they die.
Simply be with your surviving friend or family member, pray for/with them, and do what you can for them.
Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”.
If you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one, talk to God.
Tell Him how you feel.
Tell Him what you need.
Be open and honest.
God knows what you need already, but He has asked us to come to Him because he values our faith expressed through prayer.
He tells us in Romans 8:28 that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”.
Remember these words and know that God has everything in control.