“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Tim 4:7-8
As a Mum, one of the best superpowers we have is the ability to stop the tears – the grazed knee, the big tumble, the bad dream. Often we can fix things with hugs, wipes, kisses, cuddles and soothing words, so that our children bounce back, but there are times when the answer is not so easy, and the comeback not so quick.
I asked my daughter Isla, who is 6, what things made her sad or want to cry. “When you hurt yourself, bad dreams…” she answered, and then burst into tears and said “about Grandpa”
Isla often feels sad and misses her Grandpa – she was only a little baby when my husband’s father died, but she knows he is missed by the sadness she sees in her Dad, and the empty role that she sees filled in the lives of her friends, peers and others in our church family.
This is a time when as a parent I don’t get to fix it. Here, we need to cry together and work out together, through tears, how faith in Jesus makes a difference.
As Christians we have something wonderful to say. We have a hope to hold on to. We need to be talking about heaven in advance so that when loved ones die we already have a firm picture painted in our minds where we can now place them. Heaven needs to be explained and understood well enough so they can picture where their loved one is. Jesus really helps us out here: John 14:1-4 – it’s his Father’s house with lots of rooms!
2 Timothy 4 encourages us all to keep going through suffering because heaven awaits – it’s the end of the race, the glorious finish line that we need to keep pressing on towards, through the tough times, because one day there will be no more tears and we will be at home with Jesus. He – The King of Kings – will place a crown on my head! IMAGINE THAT – Jesus, giving me a crown! I’ve never found a hat that suits me but this one will! Jesus presents it to me… “and not only me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
This future, certain, joyful truth is what helps us keep going through uncertain, difficult heartache now.
So when my little girl is crying because of the pain of death the best thing I can do as a Mum is point her to the living Lord Jesus. I can show her that clinging to Him together is what we must always do. Together we will talk and draw and build a picture of heaven – a real place, with real people, real joy and Jesus welcoming us and enjoying being with him.
In Isla’s mind heaven is a really beautiful garden full of flowers and singing birds where Jesus and Grandpa are having fun playing her current favourite game – “twirly birds”. Jesus is spinning the skipping rope round on the ground for Grandpa to jump over; it’s quite a giggle to think that Grandpa can now jump really high over the spinning rope!
I also love the idea that one day, by God’s grace and perfect timing, when Isla arrives home in heaven Jesus will be waiting, with a wink, a smile, a crown and – who knows? – perhaps even a purple glittery skipping rope!
Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may stay for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
If you’d like to hear more on the topic, tune in to our podcast, where Ed and Amy talk about this in more detail: