Grieving With Hope

Remembering My Beloved Grandma and the Promise of Heaven

In the valley of grief, I find comfort in knowing my grandma rests in the arms of Jesus. Though tears flow, hope endures—we await a glorious reunion with God’s eternal promise of Heaven.
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A Heart Full of Love

There is a time coming when God will restore everything.

Today, June 15, 2024, my family lost someone incredibly special to us—my grandma. She had been suffering for a while, and though it hurts to say goodbye, I find comfort in knowing that she is at peace now, resting in the arms of Jesus. But how do you put into words how you truly feel when your heart catches up with your mind, and you realize that the person you dearly love is gone? One second they’re here, and the next, they’re just gone. There is joy, and there is sorrow. There are tears, and there is a really painful knot that is ever-present. And there is Jesus. Because of Him, there is hope for today and hope for tomorrow. I think C.S. Lewis explains it really well: “In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not.” As I reflect on the life of my beloved grams, I find that’s where I am today—sitting with joy and grief.

My grandma was an amazing woman, somewhat fickle in a humorous way, but full of love. She was a caretaker of many and touched the lives of everyone who knew her. She had a way of making people feel cared for—family, friends, and neighbors alike. Before her health began to decline, she was always ready to make you your next meal, even when she didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Grandma’s acts of kindness created many happy memories, but one memory stands out to me above all the others. 

It’s my favorite memory. It was a moment that changed both of our lives forever. We were driving together one evening long ago. It was a rather ordinary evening driving to my mom’s apartment. Grandma seemed really quiet on this drive as she stared out of my passenger-side window. As I drove through the side streets to avoid the Austin traffic, she began asking me questions about heaven. She was curious about what it was like and wanted to know if her parents were in heaven. I could hear it in her voice and see the longing in her eyes, the hope and the uncertainty intertwined together. This was a side of grams I treasured seeing—curious about God and His promises for us.

I shared with her what I knew to be true in the Bible about heaven and the beautiful promise of eternal life through Jesus. We talked about how Jesus loves us and how, through faith in Him, we can be assured of an eternal home in heaven. With a calm confidence, my grams folded her hands, bowed her head, and prayed aloud. When we finished praying together, she looked up at me with a simple smile and slightly nodded her head. “Thank you,” she said, her voice filled with a renewed sense of peace. “I feel hopeful.” I smiled back, tears of joy in my eyes. “That’s the love of Jesus, Grandma. He’s with you now, and He will always be with you.”

On that very special car ride, my grandma’s heart was opened to Jesus as she surrendered her life to follow Him as her Lord and Savior. It was such a surreal moment that I’ll always carry with me. Knowing that she found peace and assurance in Jesus fills me with a renewed sense of comfort today. This memory has continually reminded me of the depth of God’s love and the amazing story of salvation He offers to each of us.

We may imagine we want a thousand different things, but God is the one we really long for. His presence brings satisfaction. His absence brings thirst and longing.

—Randy Alcorn

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

For those in Christ, the story of salvation is the greatest love story ever told. It’s about how God, in His infinite love, grace, and mercy, made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. I’m holding onto this love story as I remember my grandma.

Jesus loves us so much that He died for our sins so that we could have eternal life with Him. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and lived a perfect, sinless life. Although He faced every temptation we experience, He did not sin.

Will you close your eyes for a moment and imagine Jesus, completely innocent and filled with love, standing in the Garden of Gethsemane. His heart is heavy with the knowledge of what lies ahead. Do you see Him? Do you feel the weight of His burden? Despite the agony that awaited Him, He chose the path of suffering for our sake, to die the death that we deserve. As He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, the weight of humanity’s sin began to press heavily on Him.

As He was dragged before the authorities, Jesus endured false accusations, humiliation, and brutal beatings. Covered in lacerations and crowned with thorns, He was forced to carry a heavy wooden cross through the streets of Jerusalem. Each step was marked by pain and exhaustion. The crowds that once praised Him now yelled and mocked, their shouts ringing loudly in His ears.

At what seemed to be the end of Christ’s rule and reign, they took Him to a place called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, soldiers drove nails into His hands and feet, nailing Him to the cross. As He hung there, I can only imagine how unbearable and excruciating the physical agony was for Jesus. And I can’t help but think that it was the spiritual burden of bearing the world’s sins that caused His deepest anguish. The sky darkened, and Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” In that moment, He experienced full separation from the Father, a separation we deserved.

Despite the agonizing pain, Jesus looked upon the very people who mocked and tortured Him with eyes full of love and compassion. “Father, forgive them,” He prayed, “for they know not what they do.” Even in His suffering, His heart was full of mercy.

As He was about to take His last breath, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With these words, He proclaimed His atoning sacrifice—to offer Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, providing a way for us to be reconciled to God. He then breathed His last, surrendering His spirit into the Father’s hands.

Three days after His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the grave, triumphing over death, sin, and Satan. Because of Jesus, death has lost its sting! Through His life, death, and resurrection, He offers us new life and the promise of eternal life with Him.

The Bible tells us that we will be saved if we believe in Jesus and surrender our lives to Him as our Lord and Savior. This means acknowledging what Christ has done, confessing and repenting of our sins, and receiving His sacrifice as His free gift to us. By placing our faith in Jesus, we are reconciled to the Father and assured of our eternal home in heaven. Because of His atoning work on the cross, we stand in victory now and forevermore!

God's Love For Us:
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Our Sin and Separation from God:
  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God's Gift of Salvation Through Jesus:
  • But God shows his love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus, the Way to the Father:
  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Receiving Salvation:
  • If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
  • But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)

In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not.

—C.S. Lewis

The Promise of Heaven

God changed us that night. I am so grateful that so many years ago, God was at work writing the promise of heaven in my grandma’s story, life, and legacy. So, as I remember the moment my grams prayed aloud to King Jesus and as I read and meditate on these truths right now, I hold fast to the story He’s writing in each of our lives—the promise of heaven. Heaven is a place of unimaginable beauty, joy, peace, and love, a promise given to us by God through His Word for all who would believe in Him.

A Home Prepared for Us:

  • In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)
  • And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3)

The New Heaven and New Earth:

  • Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)
  • He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Eternal Life With God:

  • And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)
  • They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16-17)

Again, there is a time coming when God will restore everything. It is no coincidence that the Bible begins and ends with the creation and re-creation of the heavens and the earth. In Genesis 1–2, we witness the original creation, while Revelation 21–22 unveils the renewal and restoration of all things. The parallel between these passages underscores God’s sovereignty over time and His redemptive plan for creation. From Genesis to Revelation, His purpose remains. Until all is restored, we can fix our gaze heavenward on King Jesus. 

My grandma has no more tears in the presence of who her heart has truly longed for her entire earthly life—Jesus. Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, beautifully describes the Christian hope of eternal life: “We may imagine we want a thousand different things, but God is the One we really long for. His presence brings satisfaction. His absence brings thirst and longing.” For this reason, I do not grieve as someone who does not have hope. Instead, I rejoice in suffering. I have peace in knowing that our separation is merely temporary. There will come a day when all the children of God will be reunited with Him forever, a place Christ Himself called Paradise.

I am thankful for the promise of heaven and for the day Jesus drew near to my grams during a car ride all those years ago. My grams was more than just a grandmother to me; she was a friend. Her legacy of her resolute care for family, friends, and neighbors will continue to inspire me and all who got to know her. I miss my grams, but I rejoice in the knowledge that she is with King Jesus, free from pain and suffering, reunited with her loved ones who have gone before her. In her life, death, and our eventual reunion, He gets all the glory. 

Rest in His everlasting arms, my dear grams. I will see you someday in our forever home.

𝕩𝕠 Steph.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
—1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

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