It has been nine years since my husband and I lost our youngest child. Nine years and soon it will be ten. I remember thinking years ago, “I don’t know where he is.” The thought pierced through my brain over and over again reflective of the agony my soul was feeling. The pain and sorrow was so great that my mind was just fog, floating freely where my logical thoughts used to be. Hearing those words repeating in my head just added to my torment.
I knew in my heart that my son was saved. I knew the word said that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord. I knew Craig had given his life to the Lord and yet, I could not see where he was. I could not see heaven from where I stood.
For a newly bereaved parent you can’t go through a day without wondering where your child is and what he is doing? If you are a believer you imagine your child happy and fulfilled, surrounded by the loving arms of the Lord. You can see it- in your imagination. Sometimes that is not good enough. Sometimes, you need assurance that what you imagine, what you believe, is true. You are placed at a point in your life when your faith is tested beyond breaking. Believe and stand by it or doubt and suffer from it.
It does not seem fair that when you are at your lowest point in your life, your faith is tested so greatly. You are weak, you can barely get up in the morning, you want to be with your child and for many parents, you want to die. How in the world are you going to face this test when you have no strength?
I kept telling myself, “He is fine, he is with the Lord and He is the happiest he has ever been.” It helped to repeat those words, but I still could not see Heaven from here. I needed to experience that with my five senses. I needed to know beyond a doubt. I needed the Lord to show me.
I am not alone in my feelings. I have meant many Christians that have experienced the same wonder, the same agony. It does not mean we are not strong Christians. It does not mean that our faith is less than it should be. It means we are suffering, we still love the Lord and still believe in His promises, and our faith is being tested beyond our wildest dreams. Many people will experience loss but few will truly know the sting of death and the victory. It is not a place that any parent wants to go. It is not a place you can ever imagine until you are there.
There comes a time when pain is so overwhelming that you can no longer feel. Imagine a physical pain in one part of your body. It overcomes your whole countenance. You struggle with the agony of the pain and don’t realize that in the midst of your pain, your other body parts are numb; they don’t exist because the pain is too intense to allow any affection for the rest of your body. This is how your spirit feels when it lies in agony. You don’t feel the sun on your cheek or a gentle hand on your shoulder. You can’t receive the words of encouragement from loved ones or the soft voice of God in your heart. Oh, He is there and so are you, but pain has taken over and all you can do is cry out, My God, My God Why hast thou forsaken me. I don’t say that with any disrespect toward my Lord. No one has ever suffered as greatly as Him. We can’t embrace His suffering but what we find in our lives is that it sometimes feels like abandonment, and we just can’t see Heaven from here.