“For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.”
Hebrews 11:10 (NIV)
As I prepared for the funeral service of a fine young Christian mother I pondered how I could teach her children something that would help them hold on to the Lord in the worst situation possible.
The mother was originally from a South American country and had come to Canada with her husband to live and work. Together they had several children.
However, the mother had made several trips back to her homeland without the children. All of them were old enough to recall those lonely times when Mom was gone and the joy at the reunion after a couple of weeks time.
When I spoke to the children at the funeral service I reminded them of those times when their Mom was gone home for a few weeks and how she always came back. I suggested to them that they never said they “used to have a mom” during the absences. They always said they “still had their mom” but she was just in another country for a while.
I then asked them if their mother was still interested in them and loved them when she was in South America. All four of them nodded “Yes”. Well, I said, your mom has now gone to the country called heaven. She is still your mom and she still loves you and is as concerned for you now as when she went to Chile for a few weeks.
I assured them that their mom was feeling well once more and happy and wanted her children to learn to love and follow Jesus just as she had when she lived in Chile and Canada.
Somehow the simple analogy took root in the children’s minds and hearts and comfort was drawn from the biblical truth that we never “lose” our loved ones when they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We know exactly where they are. They are in the city of God.
If today you mourn the loss of a believer who has gone ahead of you to heaven, remember that they are more alive than they ever were here in this sad world. They have all of the blessings of heaven to comfort and encourage them. They are not lonely for us as we are for them. They have perfect peace and joy.
May you—like Abraham, the man described in our verse today—look forward to entering that city whose maker and builder is God.