Is My Loved One in Heaven?
Written by Tina Morris, Founder of Christopher's Candle
I want to begin this article by stating that I know we each have a different background and experience with our beliefs. I decided to address this question on this site as I struggled terribly with this question for at least a year after my son's death. Also, most people who first come into the Ray of Hope support group I attend seem to struggle with this question as well.
In this article I can only share my experience, strength, and hope. If you disagree with anything I state in this article, please don't let this prevent you from searching out the answers for yourself. We all want to know where our friend or loved one is.
The first night we faced without Chris, I went out on my porch. I was pacing and talking to God and crying. I have almost never asked God to give me a sign regarding anything, but on this night I felt desperate. I said, "God, please give me a sign Chris is okay". It was January 10th, a very cold night in Illinois. Immediately, I heard a high-pitched bird chirp. Then I said, "Was that a sign (thinking I must be crazy)", and I immediately heard the high-pitched bird chirp again. I knew God did give me a sign, but as weeks passed and Chris' death began to sink in, I found myself questioning what I heard that night.
Somewhere along the line I heard that if a person commits suicide they will not go to heaven. I was raised as a Christian and I accepted Christ as my Savior as a child. I also taught my children about Christ and how He loves us and died for our sins. My children also accepted Christ as their Savior.
After Chris died, I was really struggling on where he was. If I truly believed in Christ, why was I allowing this struggle to consume me?
I talked this over with the people closest to me. My heart was telling me that Chris was okay and reminding me of the sign God gave me. My head was tearing apart everything I ever learned or heard about. I was questioning it all.
For months I wanted to look this subject up on-line but was scared at what I might find. Finally, I prayed about it and began searching it out. At the end of this article, you will find links to sites that I found helpful. I hope they will help you, too.
After researching the subject I began to feel better. I began to let go of the struggle and place Chris in God's capable hands. I began to grasp the love of God as He began to help me see who He was - I would occasionally hear His soft voice whisper in my thoughts; When I cried out for help, He came to my rescue; When I felt I couldn't go on another day through the pain and asked Him to remove my ill thoughts, He removed them immediately. He was a loving, compassionate, caring God who grieved with me and gently carried me through. I could trust Him. My faith became solid in Him who really proved to me that He does provide a peace that passes all understanding.
Before ending this article, I want to share that the year after my son's death I would hear that high-pitched chirp in the early mornings sometimes. I would yell to my husband, "Get up, come hear this sound. This is the sound I heard the night Chris died"! He would get up and... silent... nothing. The next year, the same thing. Then, finally He heard it. Then one morning as we looked out the window - there it was, sitting on a tree branch right outside my office window- a beautiful red cardinal. Now, we see that bird everywhere and hear it's unique high-pitched sound. In fact, I'm at my mom's writing this article, with the door open, and I keep hearing the sound.
It's been 3 1/2 years since Chris died. Just 2 weeks ago my husband came home with a photo taken by a client of his. My husband had shared our story with his clients (a man and his wife) who love taking photos of birds. They gave my husband a beautiful, up-close photo of a cardinal sitting on a tree branch. It was framed and everything. God never ceases to amaze me. He shows Himself to me through other people all the time!
I pray you find peace with this subject as I did. Here are the links to the sites I found, as mentioned above:
If a Christian commits suicide, is he still forgiven?
Provided by CARM - Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
If a Christian was to take his own life, that is suicide, he would still be saved wouldn't he?
Provided by christianity.net.au