I’m so enjoying your book Heaven. My husband died four weeks ago, and the grief is agonizing. I ask God every night to let me dream about him, and He has blessed me with this. Yesterday my cell phone rang, and the caller id was from my husband’s phone. When I looked at his phone, it said he was calling me! Before he died, he promised to always be around. I’m in awe that he is making contact with me! Just wanted your thoughts.
Thanks for your message. I'm answering on Randy's behalf.
I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. You are in a very acute stage of grief right now, and I’m glad you are choosing to find comfort in Christ and His promise of eternity.
My mom went to be with Jesus a year ago, so I understand your desire to still sense a connection with your loved one. I think God, in His graciousness, gives us good gifts that remind us of our loved ones. When one of our staff members was asked a similar question, here was her answer.
Most importantly though, Jesus gives us reminders of His presence and peace when we are experiencing grief. He is our ultimate comfort, and He must be our focus and source of strength. I’ve been taking daily walks lately and simply the sounds of the birds and the feeling of the breeze remind me of God’s care. I’m also reminded that my mom is in His presence, experiencing fullness of joy, in a place far more beautiful than I can even imagine. Sometimes I ask the Lord to pass on to my mom my love and to give her a hug for me. He’s so kind; I wouldn’t at all be surprised that He does so.
Below is something else Randy has written related to this, with an important caution about not seeking contact with a loved one who has died:
God invites us to come to Him with what’s on our minds and hearts. Obviously your loved one is on your mind and heart. If your child or wife or husband or parents or best friend are with Jesus, God understands your desire to feel connected to them, and to want them to know of your love for them, and that you miss them and look forward to seeing them again. I have every reason to believe God would honor the request to pass on our warm greetings to loved ones. But again, that's up to Him. Bottom line, as long as you're not praying TO your loved one or FOR your loved one (who needs no prayer now), but to God ABOUT your loved one, and your feelings, and your desire for them to know something, I think there's nothing in that which violates Scripture. Just be careful it doesn’t shift into anything that treats them as intermediaries or leads to obsession or seeking contact with them, which is expressly forbidden. God is gracious and understanding of our thoughts and feelings and love for the precious people He has put in our lives.
It’s important to remember that our loved ones who are with Jesus are not ghosts, floating around earth and seeking contact with us. They are with Jesus, in His dwelling place in Heaven. For the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). There is such deep comfort in thinking of our precious friends and family who have trusted Jesus being safe and at rest in His presence.
I read this from Ray Ortlund, a pastor and writer Randy appreciates: “‘We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses’ (Hebrews 12:1). So many have run this race ahead of us. They ran well by looking to the Lord and taking the next step of faith, whatever it was. Now they surround us. They aren’t far away but *very near* — and very inspiring.”
I love this thought and it so encourages my heart to know that my mom is part of that cloud of witnesses, cheering me on to follow Jesus! Randy shares some thoughts on that here.
God bless you, and may you experience a precious closeness to Jesus in this time of deep grief.
Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash
Stephanie Anderson is the communications and graphics specialist at Eternal Perspective Ministries.