Grief With Hope
A Ministry to and with the Grieving
by James Alexander
Heaven is God’s Dwelling Place
Even though God’s presence extends without end, the Bible presents God as having a definite place of dwelling. This dwelling place, called heaven, should not be thought of as a location in the physical universe, but as the fullness of God’s revelation of Himself in a way that breaks through our temporal limitations. Those in this place, heaven, enjoy an environment composed of the perfection of God’s own nature. The atmosphere of heaven shines with His glory. Those who dwell there feed upon the life of God. No sin can enter to darken the glory, and no misery can bring suffering and pain into this house of blessing. Those who dwell in heaven with God live an unmarred experience of these joys.
Heaven is Where Christ Is
After his resurrection, Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. The right hand of the Gather speaks, not of a coordinate on a grid, but a position of kingly honor and power. The Father has granted to the Son all authority and power to rule and govern. From this heavenly position, Christ even now rules over all things. Sin brings death, but Christ rules over death.
Those who die in Christ leave their bodies to be kept, even in decay, by Christ until the resurrection of the dead at the return of Christ. Their souls immediately enter into heaven into the presence of Christ. There they do not exist as floating spirits, but are clothed with the white robes of Christ’s own glory as they wait for the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan. While waiting, they enjoy the full activities of the heavenly life. The potentiality of being in Christ reaches toward a new and richer fulfillment summed up by the following:
- The heart no longer sends out streams of depravity, but now reflects the unbroken image of God’s own character. Perfect holiness brings perfect rest from struggles with sin and from life’s stresses and strains.
- The miseries of life are gone forever. Pain, sickness, suffering, heartache, loneliness, sadness, and grief melt away in the sunshine of heaven.
- Man is at his best when worshipping, so the endless theme of worship is interwoven into all activities.
- Family life reaches perfection in the fullness of security, care, love and fellowship with Christ and all the saints.
- No longer thwarted by pride and selfishness, the saints serve God and each other with an endless joy.
- The light of God’s presence penetrates every place bringing to all His children continuous newness in the revelation of His love.
- Heaven’s temple reverberates with happiness and joy that go on undiminished through eternity.
Scripture for Meditation: Revelation 6:12-17; 7:9-17
Being Dead They Still Speak
Now while they were thus drawing near towards the Gate, behold a company of the heavenly Host came out to meet them; to whom it was said by the other two shining Ones, “These are the men that have loved our Lord, when they were in the World, and that have left all for his Holy Name, and he hath sent us to fetch them…that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with Joy.” Then the Heavenly Host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they that are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” …But Glorious it was to see, how the open Region was filled with Horses and Chariots, with Trumpeters and Pipers, with Singers and Players on stringed instruments, to welcome the Pilgrims as they went up, and followed one another in at the Beautiful Gate of the City….these two men went in at the Gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured: and they had raiment put on that shone like Gold….Now, just as the Gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them; and behold the City shone like the Sun, the streets also were paved with Gold, and in them walked many men with Crowns on their heads, Palms in their hands, and Golden Harps with which to sing praises…and after that they shut up the Gates: which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
– John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress
What is heaven: A glorious and happy place, where the righteous shall be forever with the Lord.
– Children’s Catechism
One breath of paradise will extinguish all the adverse winds of earth.
– A. W. Pink
– In memory of Matthew James Alexander by his father, James Julian Alexander
Grief with Hope is a ministry established by James Alexander in memory of his son Matthew James Alexander, who died in the crash of TWA Flight #800, July 1996. Grief with Hope ministers to and with the grieving through the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.