Why I’m Not Hoping For Heaven

Jesus’ miracles promise a better fate—including for my daughter, who died at age 32.
Why I’m Not Hoping For Heaven
Image: Vasiliy Polenov / Wikiart.org

Four years ago, my 32-year-old daughter, Christy, was found dead in her apartment, felled by a pulmonary embolism. She was with me a few days earlier, at my 60th birthday celebration, and no one could have imagined her impending death.

I have heard it said that after a crisis, you see the world differently. That is certainly true for my wife and me. Life is drastically altered when you go through every parent’s nightmare. Yet Christy’s death has also caused us to see the Word differently.

Sometime after her death, I read the Sermon on the Mount and was taken aback by these verses:

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matt. 7:9–11)

Previously, I had seen this text as a promise that God would give us good gifts if we simply ask in the manner that Jesus taught. But when Christy passed away, I suddenly saw another side of this truth: if a human parent would not give his child something dangerous, but only something good, how much more God the Father?

That may seem obvious to some, but I was reassured in a new way that God didn’t give my daughter a pulmonary embolism. He is not some selfish deity that “needed another angel in heaven,” as one person told me at the visitation before Christy’s funeral. God is working all things for the good of those who love him. But he is not the author of disease, decay, death, suffering, sin, and sorrow. He is love and the author of life—life abundant—and he even promises everlasting life. His plans for us are ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

December
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Christianity Today
Why I’m Not Hoping For Heaven
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2016

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.