Shortly after my grandfather died, I did something really stupid. My immediate thought was, “Ugh, I hope grandpa didn’t see that!”
The possibility he could see my every move, mistake, triumph, stupidity, joy, sin, and failure weirded me out. At 19, I had enough to deal with than to try and figure out the complexity and mystery of Heaven, so I dropped the topic in my head without really grasping any other view than, “If people who have died can see us from Heaven, it’s a little bit creepy to me!”
Years later, Todd and I have experienced our own tragedies with the deaths of our children. And, we have constantly heard comments for the last 5 years suggesting our children can see us.
“Now you have an angel watching over you!”
“I’m sure Kylie can see you, and she would be so proud!”
“Your babies are watching over and protecting you!”
“Never forget, she is always here with you!” (As in, in the room…)
Most of the time, I smiled and nodded along, because I really didn’t know what to say. (Sound familiar anyone?)
On the one hand, I wanted to tell people I hope my children, (grandfathers, grandmother, and friends) are choosing to spend their time with Jesus rather than looking back to the hot mess of this Earth. I don’t want them watching me, go talk to Abraham, or Elijah, or have a big ole family reunion…
And yet, I also know many people, who find comfort believing their loved ones can view them from above, and be their “guardian angel”. I have heard many friends tell me they find comfort in believing their son, daughter, spouse, family, or friend, is watching out for the them, helping them make decisions, and guiding them through life. And, honestly, I struggle with this view point.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Bible is not very clear about this subject. And, like many verses in the Bible, the few that discuss this topic can be translated or understood in many different ways.
In Revelation 6:9-11, the previously martyred appear to be fully aware of what is happening on Earth during the Tribulation. They ask the Lord, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Some people believe Hebrews 12:2 is proof people in Heaven can see us as the verse speaks of Christians running a race and being surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” Some believe the witnesses are actually people in Heaven watching us run this Earthly race. Others believe these verses are simply referring back to the “heroes of the faith” in, whose lives are meant to be an example (a witness) to us of how we should live.
Luke 15:10 says, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Some believe this means the angels rejoice when someone repents, while others believe this also implies the Saints also rejoice because they are with the Angels. If so, are the Saints rejoicing over actually seeing what is happening, or by being told of the events that occurred? (Think of the birth of a child – there is a difference between being there/seeing it, and being told about it!)
And yet, probably most difficult to understand is Revelations 12:4. The Bible teaches there will be no sorrow, pain, or tears in Heaven. Our brains really can’t logically understand how this could happen because the world we know is surrounded in imperfection. While some believe this verse refers to the new Heaven (not the one now), others believe someone in Heaven now could not look back at the suffering of this world, perhaps the pain their family feels over their death, and devastation without feeling sorrow, pain, or shedding tears.
For me, where I choose to find my comfort is not thinking my loved ones can see me from Heaven, but rather in knowing my loved ones can see Jesus! I’ll take that any day. But, that’s just me…
Q. What do you believe? If people can see us in Heaven, is that creepy or comforting to you?
Photo Courtesy of Shaire Productions via Flickr