By Judy E. Creviston
In Small Surrenders author Emilie Griffin says, “Lent is a time of surrendering our will to God’s. It is also a time of believing in a better outcome yet to come.” She also says, “Accepting for example, the death of friends is eased when we can imagine them going before us into God’s light. Imaginative faith can transfigure our daily lives and help us to make our small and large surrenders.”
A large surrender for me was accepting my parent’s death who passed away one year and eighteen days apart. They were both believers in Jesus Christ and I know were face to face with their Savior when their weary body lost its fight and gave up its spirit. Bearing that burden would not have been possible without the comfort of imaginative faith and a solid confidence that God is faithful to do exactly what He’s promised.
Still, their death left a heaviness that’s difficult to describe unless you’ve experienced it along with the fact that I am now an orphan.
If time heals all wounds, then I have yet to find it to be true. There will always be a gap in my life that only Dad and Mom can fill. Time does help, however, when their memory floods my thoughts and I’m able to successfully maneuver through them instead of being disabled by them.
My imaginative faith led me to consider heaven’s orientation, or as Webster describes orientation as: the process of giving people training and information about a new job, situation, etc.
After Dad died, I sat with Mom and reminisced celebrating him. We sometimes laughed and often cried together. One thing that made Mom laugh was me describing Dad in heaven’s orientation. How his mechanical mind loved to figure out how things worked as he took them apart and put them back together. We came up with all kinds of crazy things in heaven that he might dismantle or try to figure out. Certain to be a part of his orientation, we envisioned, would be discovering new varieties of the plants and animals he loved.
Then it was Mom’s turn just a short year later, and after seeing Jesus face to face, I imagined Him handing Mom off to Dad for orientation. I could just see them talking at the same time and Dad eagerly showing her what he had learned in her absence and how excited Mom was to see him again as Christ looked on and celebrated that they were both finally home.
Death is a heavy cross and the only way to bear it is to surrender it to Christ.
Let me be clear that there is nothing in scripture that talks about orientation in heaven. There is nothing in scripture that says that there won’t be either.
Ephesians 3:20-21 does say, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
And, 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
Because Christ was triumphant on the cross, we celebrate Him and look forward to reuniting with our loved ones who have passed into eternity before us. And, if there is a time of orientation, I’m confident that Dad and Mom will do their part to help me acclimate to a new way of living.
During this time of Lent, consider a renewed focus on Christ’s victory on the cross and a better outcome yet to come. Take what He says in scripture and use your imaginative faith to celebrate all He has waiting for those who love Him.