Last week a close friend lost her daddy rather unexpectedly. As she texted me during the final hours of his life, my mind was flooded with memories of my own father-in-law’s passing after a lengthy cancer battle almost 3 years ago. I wrote one of my most heartfelt blogs about that experience here, but last week I found myself thinking about something else from that day.
A few weeks before my father-in-law’s passing, I had heard that for the Christian, his or her “life” begins at the moment that he or she puts faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Even if the physical body dies, the person still lives.
This continuous life experiences a change of state at physical death.
Because my mind tends to go toward metaphorical concepts, I started thinking about how this could be compared to pregnancy and childbirth.
Life begins at conception, and that life grows in the womb. At childbirth, the life continues but in a different state. The womb experiences a death of sorts since the baby that it housed no longer resides there.
However, for the baby, life is only beginning. When she was in the womb, she only heard muted sounds of her mother’s voice. She vaguely felt her mother’s moves. She couldn’t see her mother’s face. She couldn’t completely make out her mother’s words. She even had no idea the love the mother had for her, how her mother was protecting her with all of her being.
But after she made her journey out of the womb, it was a whole new experience! With time as her eyes adjusted, she could finally see her mother’s face! She could finally hear her mother’s words! She could smell her mother’s essence! She was held by her mother’s arms, caressed by her mother’s fingers. Finally! After all this time, the mother she could only vaguely feel and hear was real to her.
Couldn’t that be compared to what physical death will be like for the believer in Jesus? Death won’t be enjoyable. (You know, we always talk about the pain of childbirth for the mother, but having birthed 2 babies, I can pretty much guarantee that the journey wasn’t a walk in the park for the baby either). But to see our Father face to face! To hear his voice clearly! To be wrapped in his arms! Finally! Nothing will be able to compare.
As I was considering these things, two verses came to mind:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. –1 Cor. 13:12
Yet he is actually not far from each one of us… –Acts 17:27b
Just like a child can’t see her mother when she’s in the womb, we can’t see God right now. But we will! Just as a child doesn’t know everything, we don’t know everything about God or the next life. But we will! And unlike a mother who doesn’t know what her child looks like while she is in the womb, our Father knows us. He knows us fully. What love!
And he is not far from each one of us. What comfort.
In the midst of grief, in these things I take hope. I can celebrate that many I love are already seeing our Father face to face, and I can look forward to that day when my Father scoops me up in his arms and I see him face to face as well.