After 20 years I still miss my father. I hate that I can't ask him for advice; he hasn't seen the adult I have become; made a speech at my 21st birthday; walked me down the aisle to the man who would become my husband; met my children. and so many other milestones over the last 20 years.
And I hate the question that has been hanging over my head ever since I became a follower of Jesus. That question is:
Where is my dad spending Eternity? Is he in Heaven or in that other place - hell?
This question has plagued me for 20 years. Will I ever see my dad again? How can there be no tears and sorrow in Heaven if I am separated from my dad who I loved so deeply? I asked a pastor once. He told me that my dad was in hell as he wasn't a follower of Jesus when he died. Every time it is mentioned at a church I attend that someone's Christian loved one had gone to be Jesus, I felt a pang of uneasiness. I didn't have that same reassurance.
I know that I will see my daughter that I lost to miscarriage in Heaven one day. But I was unsure about whether or not I'd see my dad again. There was always a part of me that believed that I would see my dad again and that he was in Heaven. I was told a number of years after Dad's death that he had attended a Billy Graham crusade. I sensed that in the 3 days that Dad was in a coma, he had a supernatural encounter and an opportunity to say 'Yes' to His invitation of Eternal life. The reality of the situation is, nobody knows but God.
A series of events this week have given me the answer to the question, or at least peace in my soul. We came home on Saturday afternoon to find our 2 1/2 year old much loved dog Bella had died. We still don't know why she died or how. But we have felt the loss of Bella. She was part of the family. The boy warriors immediately asked if Bella was in Heaven and if we'd ever see her again. I had always been taught that because animals don't have a soul that they don't go to Heaven. The Bible is silent on the subject. But I couldn't reconcile why we would become close to our pets and grow to love them, never to spend Eternity with them. Besides, isn't Jesus coming back riding on a horse? I told the boys, "I don't know. We'll find out when we get there."
Sunday morning I spoke to a more mature woman in the church that I trust and admire and told her about Bella. I said to her, "It could not have happened on a worse week as it has been 20 years since my Dad died this Thursday." I told her my anguish over the question of where my Dad was and she reassured me that nobody will really know who makes it to Heaven. She spoke to me about the scripture of separating the sheep and the goats and even those who prophesied in His name may not spend Eternity in Heaven. She also said that there is much in the spiritual realm that we don't see happening. She said to hold onto the hope that he is in Heaven.
My friend Paula came to visit on Sunday afternoon to be with us after hearing the news of Bella passing away. She handed me a book called, "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven", which I had mentioned that I'd love to borrow off her when she had finished reading a while ago. In the book the boy who was in a coma for an extended period of time was visited by Jesus, saw angels and went to Heaven. After reading the book it confirmed that there is every possibility that something could have happened when my dad was in a coma.
The night Bella died, I had a dream that I am holding on to. I saw my little girl in a beautiful field playing with Bella and guess who was with them? My dad. I am no longer going to agonise over where my dad is. With what has taken place this week, I am going to hold on to this vision of my 3 loved ones playing together in Heaven. I guess I'll find out if I'm right when I get there.....
Still taking lessons from the King,