I grew up in a very dysfunctional and abusive house. My biological father left when I was a few weeks old. Sadly, I know there are a lot of people in the same boat – they were raised in families that did not at all represent God’s design of family. We live in a sin-filled world, but God sends us what I call “earthly angels” to help us when our lives are full of hurt.
Humans are not angels; they are separate creations. There are many verses that make it clear humans are not and do not become angels. One example is Psalm 8:4–6: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (NIV). However, I use the term “earthly angels” to describe humans, sent by God, who step into our lives to lead us closer to Him.
My uncle became the father figure I needed as I grew up. He was there for me when I was sick and carried me when I could not walk. He drove my mom and I back and forth to many Children’s Hospital therapy appointments for months on end. He was there when my heart was broken; he was there to teach me how a man should treat a lady. He showed me unconditional love when I messed up. He walked me down the aisle the day I got married. I believe God placed my uncle in my life as my “earthly angel” to fill the gaps of not having an earthly father present.
My uncle went to Heaven last night. His health had been declining swiftly over the past few months, so his transition to Heaven was not unexpected. It certainly hurts when you lose someone you love deeply, but I will say there is comfort in knowing you will see the person again in Heaven. When there is faith in Jesus, there is the promise of eternity with Him.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). “Whoever” is a huge, beautiful word. It does not matter WHO you are, WHAT you have done, WHEN you did it, or HOW you did it – you will have eternal life through your belief in Jesus.
My uncle and I shared this belief, so that is how I know I will see him again. We also have the comfort that our loved ones are no longer in pain. There is no pain in Heaven. Our loved ones can dance again and sing again and talk again. They are freed from the chains of hurt, pain, and death that had them in their grip on Earth. Revelation 21:4–6 states, “‘”He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life'” (NIV).
My uncle is with me; I talk to him and look toward Heaven when I think of him. While I am very sad to have lost my “earthly angel”, I know he is freed from pain. I also know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
My uncle’s children are adults, and they are atheists. I pray God will use this pain to save their souls. All they have to do is believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Acts 2:21 says, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NIV).
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT
We will see our loved ones again; whether we arrive in Heaven or the Lord returns while we are still on Earth, we will see them again! It is healthy to grieve, and we should grieve, but grieve with hope. Brothers and sisters, we will see our loved ones again through Jesus Christ!
Father in Heaven,
We lift up all who have lost their “earthly angels,” those people who change our lives for the better, those people who love us incredibly, those people who lead us to You, those people who help us meet You through their lives.
We thank You for Jesus and the incredible promises of eternity that we have in Him. Lord, please help those of us still on Earth to cling to Your promises when the hurt rushes in. Please remind us we can still talk to our loved ones. They are still with us – just in a different way. Please help us to grieve and to grieve with hope in Jesus.
In the Almighty Name of Jesus we pray.