Over a year ago, I was driving to a funeral with my sons.
My preschooler kept asking where we were going, and I told him I had a meeting.
I didn’t want to explain.
My heart was heavy in this season, for my friends burying a loved one, and for my own unrelated sorrow.
My son asked again about my meeting.
Truthfully, I wanted to keep my son’s rose-colored glasses intact. I wanted to eternally shield him from the loss and pain I was feeling. I wanted to pacify his hard questions.
I wanted to blind him to death, so he could have this happy-go-lucky existence.
As I kept quiet, I felt a gentle nudge.
A happy-go-lucky existence is a lie that sells short the Joy of deeply knowing Jesus Christ.
By shielding my son from loss, I’m shielding him from victory.
Blinding my son to darkness equally blinds him to the grace of Jesus Christ. The very grace I was personally experiencing in that moment.
If I failed to tell my precious son about the brokenness on earth, I was undermining the restoration of Heaven.
I couldn’t tell my young son every broken thing about this world; nor would I. There’s an age appropriate amount of innocence I will safeguard as his protector.
But I also couldn’t skirt past a natural opportunity to explain the Hope of Heaven in the shadow of earthly loss.
I took a deep breath.
Bud, I’m headed to a funeral.
The conversation continued about celebrating a life well-lived in Christ.
About meeting Jesus face-to-face, at the end of our lives, if not before.
About the fact that we all will die some day barring Christ’s return beforehand.
I still wince as I write this. The pain of loss sits heavy in my stomach.
I want to keep his soft little heart from knowing this sorrow.
His big blue eyes stared intently back at me as he took in the information.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
And bud, meeting Jesus face-to-face is better than anything we can imagine.
Like what, mom?
Better than 10 trampoline parks put together.
Yeah? What else, mom?
Better than 100 Peppa Pigs.
Better than all the ice cream in the world.
The list went on as we drove down the highway.
Before long, I was reminding my own heart.
Better than a child’s giggle.
Better than a wedding day.
Better than finding a lost loved one.
Better than a bear hug from my mom.
Better than lending a helping hand.
Better than a ticklish baby.
Better than the sweetest kiss from my husband.
Better than a vibrant sunrise, the bluest ocean, the fiery fall foliage.
Better than birth or adoption.
Better than the biggest belly laugh.
Better than watching my kids play together.
Better than the deepest flavor, most fragrant aroma, purest voice.
Better than feeling a baby kicking in my belly.
Better than giving the most thoughtful gift.
Better than the deepest friendship or holiest reconciliation.
Better than hearing well done from my dad.
So much better.
All the things that are good about this world.
They are only a sliver of the Joy found in Christ.
And all the things I think we’d miss about this world.
Heaven is better than.
By blinding my child to loss on earth, I’d be blinding him to the Hope of Heaven.
And if we don’t have the Hope of Heaven, how will we go on?
“[Y]ou will not grieve like people who have no hope.” [1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT).]
*Originally published in March 2019.