My friends Bob and Bev started me thinking about death in an email they sent me yesterday in response to my last post. I had been lamenting the loss of my mother and the pain I still feel at that loss.
They wrote, “Experience is everything. Do you think that God in His wisdom allows us to know first hand what it is like to lose our loved ones to be able to fully appreciate what in another way we once had? We have these longings to be connected once again with them and unconditionally. It is our longing with His grace that will eventually bring us into His presence, not our practice of religion.”
Think about it for a few minutes. We experience loss of a loved one and we mourn for that person but over time our hearts heal, but how does it feel for God? He loves all humanity equally and longs to see us all saved from sin and spend eternity in His presence.
However, many people reject the grace and love of God and choose to separate themselves from Him with the result that they are lost. I wonder if God ever gets over the pain of seeing the people that He loves and gave so much for reject Him?
We are told that Heaven is a place of wonder, peace and serenity where all our past will be forgotten in the joy of the present. But, say you had five children and four of them are safe at home. Would you not worry about the one that is out on their own late at night? Then think of losing a child and the pain of going through that terrible loss.
While we rejoice in Heaven, rejoice in our salvation and the grace of God do you think that God forgets about all of humanity that never received the gift of grace?
Maybe death is an ability on our part to look into the heart of God and experience, to a very small degree, what He suffers when He looks out upon this fallen, sin-sick world and realizes that vast majorities of the people that He loved and died for want nothing to do with Him and His wondrous gift of salvation.
I miss my mother and I know that by the grace of God I will not only see her again but I will spend eternity with her. I am sure in my heart that God is more elated over that reunion than even I am because He loves my mother so much more than I ever could and He loves me much more than my mother could ever have loved me. But the love that God has for my mother and me is no greater than His love for everyone else in the world.
When people are lost because of sin there has to be an emptiness in God’s heart. I wonder if God carries that emptiness around with Him for all eternity? What do you think? If He does I can’t even begin to imagine the scope of the sacrifice that God made for fallen humanity. While my tears will be erased and all things made new, God will always remember.
I’m not insinuating that God will sit around heaven forever pining away for the lost, but they will always be inscribed in His heart. Those of you who have lost children, no matter how many years ago, would give anything to have them sitting beside you right now. I think God is the same way.
If this little side adventure into the corners of my mind has any truth at all in what I am writing then think of the wonder and goodness of God. We take God for granted so often in our lives. We say “we are believers” and “we trust Him for our salvation” but we don’t really understand or delve into the true cost God pays for our redemption. The plan of salvation isn’t some side adventure for God, or an afternoon’s preoccupation, but it is the summary of who He is. God loves us unconditionally.
Our redemption cost God everything right up to and including torture and death. Why? Because of abounding love and grace and a longing in His heart to have us home again. If you have a loved one that has drifted away from God whatever you do, please, don’t give up on him/her. Pray for them and bring them constantly before God. Remember He want’s them saved in the Kingdom of Heaven more than you ever will. And think of the joy it will bring God to see that loved one accept His free grace and receive the gift of salvation.
So often we think of our pleasure in seeing loved ones come to Christ, but for the first time in my life I am beginning to understand that it is for God’s joy that we long to see our families saved. I not only want to see my mom in Heaven but I want God to be happy and joyous that His daughter has come home.
* I have no doubt that the persecution of Christians that continues in many, many countries leaves God with an empty heart. God has not abandon these people and we must continue to pray for them – for their strength of faith and trust in Christ to see them through. Some of their heart-wrenching stories can be found at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/