“We’ll find each other,” I told Katrina. We were picking out burial plots for our family. Nobody leaps with excitement about that conversation.
We were deliberating whether to secure burial plots for three of us (Kaleb, Katrina, and me) or five (our daughters Kaleigh and Kyra included) of us. We never pondered that question a week before.
Nobody prepared us for the number of decisions that come with a death. It’s overwhelming. Our minds felt like slot machines, spinning with thoughts and struggling to focus. Our bodies lacked sleep from weeks of hospital stays preceding Kaleb’s death. Now sorrow permeated our hearts after it.
I concluded that our daughters would want to be near their future husbands. Katrina agreed. But then the question emerged:
“How will we find each other when Jesus returns?”
This question is the one I was answering in the first sentence of the article. I followed it with something like, “Jesus will work it out. Our family will be together.”
I’m counting on that despite my ignorance of how he’ll do it.
The Difficulty with Promises
The Bible has promises that don’t include explanations for how they will unfold. This prompts our questions. Questions that make us think deeper about Scripture can mature us. They are valuable. Bad questions come with a cynical tone – where every sufficient answer meets a new question – and a closed mind. We can spot them without effort.
I believe the Bible. Every word. And I love to read the Bible. But I don’t understand everything in it. I have questions concerning how specific events will transpire.
The Scriptures give us heart-thrilling promises, but are silent on how God will fulfill them. The mechanics of God’s future actions often remain unknown. We must accept this reality. We cannot change it.
Death Makes It Personal
My son’s death has caused my daughters to ask questions about Heaven. It makes sense. They stood bedside as Kaleb took his final breaths and passed from time to eternity. This experience is memorable for anyone, but for the two younger sisters of the one dying it’s unforgettable.
When someone we love dies, we get interested in Heaven, the return of Jesus, and other related topics. Death makes it real, makes it personal. I’ve read books on Heaven for insights and answers. I want to grasp what my son is experiencing and understand what we will one day enjoy together.
My daughters are no different. They’ve asked me what their brother is seeing and doing right now. They’ve asked what Jesus’ return will entail and desire details about that Day. I don’t always have answers, at least specific ones. Sometimes “I’m clueless, girls” is the only honest response.
There are many great questions. I have theories, but I didn’t include them here. Instead, I’ve listed the questions and a few reasons they’re legitimate.
“How will everyone see Jesus when He comes back?”
Kaleigh asked this head-scratcher. If he’s too high in the sky, we won’t see him. If he’s too low, it limits his visibility. So how will everyone see Jesus?
“How will God resurrect people killed in a fire?”
My cremation questions fit in this category too. Will Jesus collect all the ashes back together? Will one speck of someone’s ashes be enough to put the whole person back together?
“How will God raise someone who sank to the bottom of the ocean?”
Not only are the oceans deep, but those who die there become a buffet for the creatures that call them home. How is Jesus going to raise a body from the dead that sank to the bottom, decomposed, and became shark food?
“How will God raise someone six feet underground in a sealed coffin and vault?”
This one is less difficult, but still hard to envision. Will the ground break open? Will the coffins simply unlock? I want so many details.
“How will we avoid grief in Heaven if people we loved are not there?”
There are variations of this question, but it stems from the Bible’s teachings concerning no tears or sadness in Heaven. If we won’t mourn or cry, then will we recognize that people we loved are not there? Will our redeemed understanding of justice lead us to see the glory of God in his judgments?
We could add more questions to this list. I can’t comprehend the mechanics of how God will do the things he promises to do in Scripture. But when I have unanswerable questions, questions that could discourage me and cause worry, my recourse is this:
I trust God.
When I can’t comprehend how God will fulfill his promises, I rely on what the Scriptures make clear to me. They display God’s character and attributes. I lean on that. Knowing God resolves our unsolvable questions.
We believe that God is sovereign. So he can do anything he pleases. Nothing constrains him. Our God is in the Heavens, he does all that he pleases (Psalm 115:3).
We declare that God is all-powerful. He created the universe – from nothing – with a word. He required no raw material. God fashioned our lives in eternity past before one day ever came to pass (Psalm 139:16).
Whatever God determines to do will happen.
Rest for the Restless Heart
When my questions lead me to dead-end roads where answers appear absent, I go to what God has revealed. And here’s what happens: my restless heart finds rest.
I trust Jesus will raise the dead because he says it. He doesn’t tell me how, but I trust he will produce whatever he wills. The One raising the dead is the same One who created everything from nothing. Vaults, oceans, and scattered ashes are not hinderances to him. These material things are subject to his words. He utters his voice, the earth melts (Psalm 46:6).
How will we find our friends and family at the resurrection if we’re not buried near one another? No idea. But we will. Do I know the details? No. But I know the God who promises they will happen always does what he says. Even if we’re faithless, he remains faithful he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
So the next time we’re struggling to understand how the next life can really be so great if there is no sex in Heaven, remember: in his presence there is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Okay, Lord, I trust you.