Thursday, 21 July 2011

Is my dad in Heaven or hell?

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20 years ago today my father left this earth. He was involved in a road accident and suffered severe head injuries on impact, spent 3 days in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit and then passed away. He was 49 years old. He would have turned 50 the following month. A life taken way too young. He had so much life to live. But his days were cut short suddenly by someone overloading his trailer, causing the fatal accident that killed my father.

 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,


  1. Regarding pets in heaven, I love Ecclesiastes 3:21 "Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" ... bless you Jo!

  2. PS that Scripture means NOBODY knows ... so it's quite possible they go to heaven too!

  3. Hugs Jo, I know how much you miss your Dad. Love your post and def something to think about I hope our pets go to heaven maybe Zepha and Bella are playing together :)

  4. So major tears here. Have you been over to read the blog about my dad? It involved Billy Graham too! I agree. Much can happen during the coma hours. I am so thankful that you have found peace. The uncertainty though does cause us to be vigilent about being "sure" with people. I remember with an unsure relative, saying "I want to tell my children that this isn't GoodBye forever but just for awhile...have you accepted Jesus as your savior? I got back dates/details/conversion story it was precious and powerful. I am so thrilled our Creator gave you a visual to cling to. What a blessing! Sorry for your losses.

  5. Huge hugs for you, dear one! I could identify with so many of your feelings in this post.

    We've lost a beloved dog, I have many little ones I'm waiting to meet and hold one day in heaven, and I have agonized over the death of a loved one~not knowing whether she had made heaven her home or not. God was so gracious to give me an answer of peace!

    I adored The Boy That Came Back From Heaven, too. What a wonderful, faith and hope building book!

    There is another good book~Heaven Is Real, by Todd Burpo. This boy went to heaven as well, and he saw his Grandpa and his little sister (his mother had a miscarriage). It was also very encouraging for me. God bless you bunches!

  6. As tears stream down my check and I struggle to swallow from the ball in my throat, I write this from the depth of my soul and heart. The vision of your dad was beautiful and I believe with all my heart God's way of showing you how He see's your dad right now. I am so touched by all that you write today. I am so sorry for all of you losses. But, so blessed that you have found peace in the midst of all of the pain. Blessings to you!

  7. Firstly I'm so sorry about you losing your dad like that. I also want to thank you for this post though, because my dad, although he is alive, is not a Christian and although I know I should hold onto hope while he is alive, it is sometimes hard to do and I wonder if he will go to hell. I don't really know what to believe but reading your post has at least showed that one- I'm not the only person worrying about this, and two- there can be peace about this. Thank you :)

  8. A beautiful post Jo, as usual.
    And what a thought!
    I didn't know my dad and he died when I was 12.
    I've investigated and researched with family, asking question and pressing for answers about his spiritual condition.
    I love that verse in Ecclesiastes that was mentioned above...for nobody knows!
    We'll know when we go Home...but for now praying you rest in Him.
    Love you Jo,
    x Stacey

  9. Wow, I'm without words here. This is just a beautiful post and so honest and filled with love. So sorry about your dad and your dog. My dad says he believes in some greater being, but won't entertain any more than saying that. I worry so much that I won't be able to minister him to the Lord before he passes. I can't imagine how hard this angst over your father has been for you. Praying for you to have continued peace over this question.

    Many blessings,

  10. Just found your blog through Chelsea's and this post caught my attention. First, I agree that none of us knows, so in my opinion, it is irresponsible and even cruel to tell a worried, grieving daughter that her dad is in hell. I don't use this word very often, but shame on him.

    Second, if heaven is really paradise, I want my dogs there. I love this story. A man and his dog die. They approach the pearly gates. The man can see beyond the gates lovely homes and gardens. The gate keeper tells him that he can come in but no dogs allowed. The man says no thanks and walks off down the road with his dog. Soon he sees a charming, but modest farm. An old man is sitting at the gate and welcomes the man and his dog and invites them in. The man asks where he is and the old man tells him this is heaven. The man is puzzled and says that the gate keeper down the road wouldn't let him into heaven with his dog. The old man laughs and says that isn't heaven. That's hell.

    I hope you can go forward in faith that your dad and your dog will be waiting to greet you.

    PS--I love your title "Princess Warrior"!

  11. Love this - I have struggled with the same questions since my brother died many years ago from a drug overdose... one night while in anguish over his destination I felt God say "Don't you think I loved him more than you did?". It brought instant peace - we don't know what happens during those moments between life and death and it is so good to know that God will do whatever it takes. xoxo

  12. Jo that vision of your dad, your daughter and your dog is beautiful and the peace you described from it is the kind that comes only from God. People say all kinds of inappropraite and hurtful things to those who are grieving, but Jesus reaches out in comfort and peace so hold onto that vision and know how much the precious ones you've lost mean to your Heavenly Father too!!

  13. Sending you much love Jo. I'm sorry for your losses. I tend to think there is so much we don't know. Hold on to hope. Mel xx

  14. I love the dream of your loved ones playing together. So beautiful. I am sorry for your loss dear one. So very glad that God has given you peace in the midst of your pain. xx

  15. Dear Jo, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad. ..And I can understand your questions. My grandma commited suicide, but I have always felt that it was possible for God to reach her in her final moments. His work is something beautiful, that he can do without anyone else's knowledge. I definitely believe what scripture says, that we must call out to Jesus for salvation and trust in him, but he can work in a life even at the last moment, just like he did with the thief on the cross. I also really believe that once we are in his presence, the peace we will feel will be deeper than anything we've ever known, and his comfort will heal all wounds and grief, and our hearts will be new.

    Love to you. ♥

  16. It's me again. I hope you don't mind, but your post inspired my own post today. Here is the link if you are interested.

  17. What an emotional week for you. There is so much that we don't know - but God definitely uses circumstances, other people and our dreams to give us hope and bring us peace. Thinking of you.x

  18. Hugs to you Jo!
    I have wondered the same about my dad, he never really professed faith in Jesus though he heard the gospel. We were not living with him when he died as he was back in India (my parents divorced before we moved here). I really dont know but am trusting God.
    Sorry about Bella too:(
    losing pets is painful when you are a child.
    We lost some guinea pigs and it was very painful for my dd (and me too:)).

  19. You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to and pick up your award.

  20. Tears & more tears...
    Hold on to your vision dear Jo! I am a true believer that God gives us dreams & visions like this for a reason.
    My children had a similar question in April this year when a dear friend's 20 year old son took his own life (he was like a part of our family so it hit us all very hard). Patrick had an amazing ministry in youth at his church, a wonderful relationship with God, but he held inside a secret that he felt God (or others if the found out) would never forgive him for so he took his life. Many churches teach that those who take their lives don't go to heaven... I'm not so sure. Both my girls often dream dreams which come to pass (they have incredible gifts of discernment). They have both dreamed more than once in the last few months that they were out with friends and young Patrick came up to them, hugged them and said all is OK. I truly believe that God is telling them that he is in Heaven.
    Hold fast to your dreams and don't allow anyone to tell you otherwise. God bless you my friend. xxoo


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Jo Princess Warrior xo