Sharing My Beliefs
I wanted to share my beliefs with this cousin whom I remembered as a darling little girl when I was a teenager. We had only gotten reacquainted as adults during the funerals of my parents, so I decided to stay in touch. A lot had happened since she was a child—marriages, children, illnesses, loss. I really wasn’t certain what she had been taught or believed. However, I chose to address her as someone who believed in God and had some exposure to the Bible.
I carefully thought of a response, not only for my cousin but for all who might want to believe that dead relatives can reach out to them. I know that it can seem like a great comfort to have contact again with someone that you greatly miss—their voice, sight, smell, laugh, favorite foods, and music. Just to be able to be with them again! And sometimes, those wishes are wrapped up in guilt about missed chances to say goodbye or ask forgiveness or desire for answers to questions.
Many people just aren’t sure what happens when someone dies. I’ve thought about it more after the deaths of my parents. Many of us can’t abide by the thought that life is over and that’s all there is—for our loved ones or ourselves! We certainly don’t like to think about what happens in the grave or cremation.
A Good God
During my lifetime, I have accepted that the character of God is one of love, compassion, and grace. He always has our best interest, and He is a good God. I believe God would not design that those who have died be doomed to view the suffering and pain of their descendants for centuries (?). Likewise, that those left alive would have to continually wonder if their dead friends and family members were watching them. (I once had a neighbor who wondered if her father was watching her use the bathroom!).
I accept that there are many interpretations of passages and stories in the Bible. However, my clearest picture of God is revealed in Jesus Christ on the Cross, and His hope-filled resurrection. The book of John is one of my favorites in the Bible, with many quotes from Jesus. I think Jesus is clear about the afterlife as He spoke to His disciples in John 14:1-3 (NIV): “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
The Fruit of Messages
I also like the encouragement about Jesus’ coming as offered in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. And the resurrection in I Corinthians 15:50-56.
Jesus will return to get those who have trusted in Him. In the meantime, death is a whole person resting in Him. And since I believe in a cosmic battle between God and Satan, there may be spirit impersonators of those who have died. All of that can be distracting from the basis for our eternal salvation in a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. What is the fruit of the supposed messages or visits? Do they encourage greater reliance on God and look to him for faith and direction? Or is there greater dependence on intermediaries, choice-less directions, fear, and confusion? Some people spend lots of money seeking responses from their dead—money that could benefit the living.
Throughout the New Testament, there are many words of “Do not fear.” God wants us to be at peace about what happens after we die. He is fair, just, loving, and forgiving. “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
- What troubles you the most about what will happen after death?
- How would you evaluate a message from a dead relative or friend?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.