Over the last week I have heard a similar expression several times repeated in person and on TV. In each case a person was talking about a friend or family member who was deceased. They would talk about the situation they were in and then they would say, “I feel they are here with me right now.” Another version says, “I know they are looking down and smiling.”
This kind of talk reveals two things to me. First, it reveals how little we really know about the after life. Sadly, even many Christians have little clue to what the Bible says about our after life. Most of what I hear is based on subjective feelings and conjecture to make us feel better about our lives. One of the scenario’s that I heard this phrase this week was on TV and a woman was selling off her dad’s possessions. She said as she walked among his possessions and started selling them, “He is here with us.” Honestly, that just made her feel good in the moment and a sense of connection with the past.
The second thing it reveals to me is how little we believe in anything other than heaven. I mean, no one ever says “He is down there looking up at me in pain.” While preparing for the first funeral I ever performed the daughter of the deceased women told me not to mention hell “because we don’t even want to think of that possibility.” None of us ever want to consider that someone we cared about was selfish, mean and ungodly. Jesus considered it a very real possibility when he told the story of a rich man and Lazarus. There he pictures a man in great torment not looking down in love.
Honestly, I do not want to base my eternity on my feelings. I also do not want to base my eternity on my own good efforts. I know how awful of a person I can be some days. And can I take it a step further, if I die and there is a heaven (like I believe) then I do not want to hang around this place watching you live. I want to be off enjoying paradise and all that heaven offers and not here with you.
So today I declare that when I die I hope I am not here. I hope to be enjoying my heavenly eternity with Jesus in paradise. You meet me there because I am not hanging out here with you.