One of the first sentences out of our doctor's mouth when coming back into the hospital room to consult with us after we learned that our daughter no longer had a heartbeat was that we now had our own “angel” looking over us. We knew his comment was intended to give a measure of comfort, yet, we also knew it was not literally true.
We found solid comfort in the truths of Scripture about our hope of our daughter's present reality. These were truths we revisited again and again in grief to resonate with our daughter's joy. That is why I want to share with you today six reasons we can rejoice in the hope that our sons and daughters are still human beings in heaven:
“It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
(1 Peter 1:12)
I have the hope my child is loved and known by God. The Bible may not give salvific details about how my child is specifically saved into the family of God. But, I know that it could only be so through the blood of Jesus. In Scripture, angels, however, are not beneficiaries of salvation through the atonement of Christ. How wonderful that my child will exist to the praise of His excellent grace, a grace that angels have experienced longing to understand!
“He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”
Just as angels who sin are not saved though the cross, angels are also not adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Through Jesus, the perfect Son of God, I have hope my daughter is adopted into the family of God forever. She belongs. She may not be able to interact with her earthly family. But she is already part of an eternal family that I will one day meet fully in glory too.
(3) Individual Personhood
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
(1 John 3:2)
When others have told me that my child is an angel in heaven, perhaps they are using a nickname—like how I might say endearingly that my daughter was “perfect to me,” without that comment being a negation of my theological belief that she was conceived with a nature of sin. Yet, for anyone without a biblical framework, there is a tremendous deal of uncertainty surrounding death—and that mystery is associated with the “angel” term, as I have heard it. The best is hoped, but truth is not known—grasping for something that seems good, the term “angel” is applied children who fall asleep.
This uncertainty has been an opportunity for me to share that my baby did not transform into another kind of being or figure. She has her own individual, preserved personhood. I have hope she has gone through a glorious heavenly transformation—yes. But she is still herself. I have the hope of a beautiful reunion with her because I will meet her for who she uniquely is and was from conception! And though I have been separated from her for a little while, I will have an eternity to know her. And it will still be her.
Why do I believe this? When Jesus appeared to His disciples back on earth after His resurrection, even if a little difficult to recognize through earthly eyes, He was still Himself and was able to still be know for Himself (Luke 24:36-49). He is the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29); His people will follow Him with a resurrection like His.
(4) Mankind, Like The Savior
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Perhaps ascribing the title of “angel” to pre-born babies is especially appealing because of the sinfully diminished value of the pre-born in my country and culture. But this diminished value is not reality. Praise God that He defines what is valid and true! Babies, from the very moment of conception, are valuable human beings—belonging to the same mankind into which Christ was born as Savior. My baby has this intrinsic, God-given value from conception through eternity.
(5) Known Location
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5:8)
When I think about the cultural concept of angels as unattached, ethereal beings who “watch over me,” whether floating around me or looking down from somewhere above, it introduces uncertainty to mind of where my child would be—if like a guardian angel. This lack of precision would be disconcerting. Rather, I have the hope my baby is present with the Lord. In precise location, she is with Him. She is in the light of His presence. She knows no evil or sorrow. There is nowhere better in all of creation for her to be than where she is presently residing.
(6) Assurance as Mothers
“The law of the Lord is perfect”
I have assurance about my baby’s life, existence, and value through the authoritative testimony of Scripture. I do not have to wonder if my baby is loved, if she belongs, if she exists as herself, or if she is with God. I know all of this to be true because God’s Word is perfect.
I have the unshakeable hope that my baby is a loved child of God, uniquely known by the Father to worship Him and display His redeeming grace for all eternity in His presence where all believers will one day join to worship Him too.
This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.