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Where on earth is heaven?

The large crowd had dispersed except for close family friends. Dusk would soon be approaching. And the inclement weather had made it difficult to walk on the muddied pathway. It was not a nice day to bid goodbye.

The minister offered words of prayer and the casket was lowered as family members lobbed handful of soil each on top of it. Soon it rested and after a final farewell it was filled with soil.

As the family members left the cemetery, the youngest of the sisters, Robie, broke the silence, “Dad, you said Mom is going to heaven but why did we bury her?”

And pointing her little fingers towards the sky she continued, “Is not heaven up there?”

I was lost for words! How would you respond if it were you?


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48 thoughts on “Where on earth is heaven?

  1. I believe I would try to explain the difference to the child between the body and the soul and that Mommy’s soul is now separate from her body. Depending on the age of the child, that might be a little difficult to do, but that’s how it was explained to me when I was a child and how I tried to explain it to my children when my Father passed away.

  2. Somewhere, is Alabama on said:

    Would be very difficult. I have no idea of how if I were in that situation. Prayers to those who are.

  3. good2begone on said:

    Difficult situation indeed. My family has endured 4 funerals in 3 months. We were blessed to see family members handle this situation with their children. Truth based in the family faith was the path chosen.

  4. There are some things we don’t understand with words – we understand them in our hearts. At such a difficult time, I’m sure your honesty is the most precious thing you can give your daughter. Our prayers are with you.

  5. So sweet and so true. Yes, how to respond? I wouldn’t know. But I guess I would try to do what Kip Light suggested.
    Lovely post. Children are so precious.

  6. thebedsedgedisabledandobese on said:

    My daughter, in a very tragic and unexpected way, laid to rest her 45 year old husband last week. In many conversations over this past week, I have tried to comfort her in her grief. This is the essence of one of those conversations, only as if I were talking to my a young child. In so many words, I would lovingly try to say: Do you remember everything that you love about Mommy? Her smile, her love for you, the way she laughed, everything about Mommy that made you love her so. Now, remember the pretty butterflies we see in the Spring? The same way the pretty butterflies leave their cocoon to be free and fly away, Mommy and everything you love about her left her sick body, her cocoon, to fly away and be in heaven with Jesus. Everything you love about Mommy is not in the ground, but she is in heaven and waiting for us so that if we live for Jesus and love him, someday we will also go to heaven and see Mommy’s smile and feel Mommy’s hugs again.- I know it is not perfect, nothing seemingly is at such a time, but I believe this is something I might say to my daughter if she were very young and her heart was broken for missing the mother she loved so dearly.

  7. As to a child’s understanding of the spirit and the body, we should not underestimate the young ones’ ability to think in abstract. They are much better than we adults are at imagining. The situation isn’t ideal though to try to explain it. These kinds of abstract thoughts are better received when not under this kind of duress.

    My heart goes out to the family and friends. Let us pray for this little child’s heart that God will one day use this horrible series of events in her life to gird her faith that there is a God who loves us and has a plan for everyone, even if his plan isn’t always smooth sailing.

  8. Friends recently buried their 6 year old son who died from a brain tumour. They had to explain his death to their 3 year old daughter. They explained that her brother was made of 2 parts – body and soul. The soul lives forever in Heaven with God even though can’t be seen but the body gets sick and doesn’t last forever. They said that her memories of her brother are the way his soul stays with her even though he is living with God. The explanation seems to be working. I think I would say something similar.

  9. Great! Appreciate it for sharing…

  10. My father died months before I turned 5, and my son died last year in which my very young cousins came to his funeral. I explained to them the same way my mother explained what my happened with my dad. Very similar to what Kip Light and thebedsedgedisabledandobese said.
    I was told that daddy had a soul, ( just weeks before, my dad led me to Christ and I was saved). She told me that his body covered up his soul and while his soul went to heaven, his body stayed here on earth.
    No child will fully understand it till they come to understand Christ. As I got older and looked into God’s word, I understood more.
    It sounds crazy to explain this to a child but with prayer, God will place that understanding in them, it really can happen, I was able to do it and by no means was I special. God has sympathy for children with single parents and vice versa. God’s word is not to difficult for a child to understand.
    I realized when my son died and I explained what happened to him and why I was not coming home with my baby that day, the children who asked wanted to know the real truth. It is not fair to lie to them and tell them some fairy tale when every day that they have to grow up, the concept would become clearer. Its not easy but it’s what their human nature needs, a real answer.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and personal experiences. I wish we all could see it your way and then things would have been much better. On March 4 I lost my Dad to cancer (again!). Robie who was almost three years older (now) was able to grasp much and remarkd, “Mom and Grandpa are now in heaven!”

  11. Oh, this is a hard situation to face. If I were you, I’d tell the child that mommy’s in heaven right now, and what we buried is her body which she doesn’t need anymore. Since it’s a four-year-old, you could tell her that humans can’t fly to heaven because they have this body, but mommy can fly to heaven right now because she let go of her body.

    Warm regards,

    • Thank you! I’m truly grateful. What you shared is something which really needs to be considered. What I had faced is something not uncommon but which we haven’t seriously dealt with. I hope we will take what we can from here and move on…

      • You’re always welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful. In all our lives, there are times when we feel like this life is not worth all the hardship and sorrows we face sometimes. But the fact is, these hardships are what increase the sweetness of the hopes of going to heaven someday!

        God will surely be on your side in these harsh moments. He will be your comfort and solace. Trust Him.

        Warm regards in Jesus’ name,
        Stenila. 🙂

      • Thank you, dear! One has to be soft enough to soak in the blessings hard times bring but also tough enough to pull through, less we be like a crumpled paper never fit for use again. Blessings…

  12. Sharon G. on said:

    I’d say “Her spirit is up there and her body will join it later.” If she asks what a spirit is, “Your spirit is the real you that uses your body to get around in.”

  13. For a small child the best answer is that Mommy or Daddy have gone to live with Jesus so they can be made well and that one day they will see them again.

    As far as going to Heaven is concerned….well there is nowhere written in Scripture that says we will be going to Heaven when we die believe it or not. If I read Scripture correctly there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth and we will reign with Jesus on Earth for a thousand years after he returns. The nearest suggestion referring to going to Heaven is when Jesus replied to the man on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise. After the thousand years we are not told what will happen. Perhaps it is then we will actually get to Heaven

    Shirley Anne x

  14. Have a 3 years old son, and if I were to come missing to him, I would like he’ld been told that “mom is now becomimg part of the Earth, part of the Universe, in being so she becomes also part of the sky, you can breathe her, feel her everywhere, because she is part of it all, you shouldn’t be scared of feeling alone without her, because she hasn’t left you, can’t see her in the way you used to, but she will find a special way to find you whenever you need and ask, her transformation isn’t ment for sorrow, it’s for us to get to know her all over again, through loving the earth that bares her, the wind that sings with her and the people that breathe her!” Only Love can heal Loss, into every belief or religion.

  15. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  16. My first response …
    Is heaven not all around us?

    This is all heaven, on earth, up there, down below, in our hearts, and in each other.

  17. Anne Elizabeth on said:

    “My dearest little one, mommy is in heaven but her body remains here until Jesus can make her a new one, the same time He makes a new one for you and for me. On that day, we’ll see mommy even more beautiful than before. But don’t you worry, that day will be here before we know it! In the meantime, mommy’s soul is with Jesus in heaven working along side Him, praying for us still on earth. How cool is that?”

  18. I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve really appreciated many of the responses and I don’t think I could have come up with anything better. Anne Elizabeth, in particular, has a great way to tell her. I think her response is actually my favorite.

    I really wonder, though, if sometime we wait too long before we teach our kids some of this stuff. While I realize I probably have a different perspective on this than others here, this earth and everything in it is temporary. We were made for eternity. God put that deep inside of us. And I think too often, we all get so caught up with the world and everything in it that we rarely even think about, much less talk about, eternity. But eternity is the destination! And if you really believe your heart is right and when you die, you’ll go to be with Jesus, then I would think that would have already been talked about so it’s not a completely new concept when a tragedy like this happens. After all, a tragedy it may be because we will most assuredly miss our loved ones, eternity is the Christian’s greatest hope!

  19. I read this earlier and honestly didn’t know what to say. I hope you all are okay. Your blog is so beautiful and encouraging, I hope you get the same back when you need it.

  20. obsfo on said:

    The following would require to be re-phrased for the ears of a child who is grieving for a loved one. However, it does not help the child in the long run to be told something that has no biblical foundation.
    No doubt this will be the most unpopular comment of this thread, but truth often is unpopular

    Does the Word of God actually reveal to us that those who qualify, or anyone else for that matter, will be going to heaven when they die?

    This is one of many reasons why it is essential to understand the meaning of God’s annual Holy Days – They reveal to us the framework of God’s Plan. Unfortunately, many churches do not respect these holy days, or teach the meaning of them.

    Jesus spoke to the apostles on this subject:

    John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

    V.36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

    The last few words of verse 36 are assumed by many to mean that the apostles, and all future true believers in Christ, will follow Him to heaven on death. However, that is not what this verse says – it actually means that they will follow Christ later, when He returns to earth.

    The apostles and those who have qualified in this lifetime are to be resurrected as SPIRIT BORN in the first resurrection. Rev. 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

    Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

    There are those who sincerely believe that those who have qualified in this lifetime and have died before Christ’s return will be in heaven with Him until that day comes.

    What do the Scriptures say?

    Eccl. 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

    Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

    Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

    Psalms 6:5 For in death [there is] no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

    The above verses give a little gloomy picture, but let us remember that TIME as we perceive it in the physical world only began when the Universe came into motion.

    God’s (spiritual) measurement of time is somewhat different:

    Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night.

    2 Peter 38 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    The Father’s House

    Returning to John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

    Is not the Fathers House His temple? – A temple has many rooms and Christ tells us that He is going to prepare those rooms to be occupied by those who qualify for positions in the temple WHEN HE RETURNS. Jesus on His return will be the head of Gods Temple – the High Priest, and those that are resurrected in the first resurrection (on Christ’s return) will have various positions of authority with Him in Gods Temple on this earth – Not in heaven.

    Matt: 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    Does the Bible tell us of anyone who has ascended to Heaven?

    John. 3: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

    No person has ever ascended to heaven

    The Crucifixion

    There are those that refer to Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.- as proof that we go to heaven on death

    Did Jesus promise the thief that was crucified next to Him that he would join Him in heaven?

    The word used here is Paradise – but is Paradise heaven?

    Strong’s # G 3857 – Paradeisos

    1) among the Persians a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well watered, in which wild animals, were kept for the hunt; it was enclosed by walls and furnished with towers for the hunters

    2) a garden, pleasure ground

    2a) grove, park

    3) the part of Hades which was thought (they did not know) by the later Jews to be the abode of the souls of pious until the resurrection: but some understand this to be a heavenly paradise

    4) the upper regions of the heavens. According to the early church Fathers, the paradise in which our first parents dwelt before the fall still exists, neither on the earth nor in the heavens, but above and beyond the world.

    In some elements of first-century Judaism, this word Paradise described the heavenly abode of the soul between death and the resurrection. After Jesus rose from the dead, He stated that he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17); therefore, Paradise cannot be identified as the final abode of the blessed – and it cannot be heaven.

    However, the soul and the human spirit are two different entities – the former physical and the latter, as its name implies, is spiritual (invisible). We do not have a soul, we ARE a LIVING SOUL (physical and material – Genesis 2:7)

    Jesus did not rise to heaven on his physical death – His body lay in a tomb for 3 days and 3 nights – not one and a half days as the Easter celebrations would have us believe.

    Jesus did not rise to heaven until He resurrected in spirit form.

    If we take a look at Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

    Jesus has yet to return to claim His Kingdom – He has already qualified to remove the ‘god of this world’. The Paradise mentioned in Luke is on this earth – Not in heaven.

    There are so many examples one could mention but take a look at what those who ‘wait upon the Lord’ will inherit:

    Psalms 37:9. What will ‘the blessed of God’ inherit? – Psalms 37:22. What will ‘the righteous inherit’? – Psalms 37:29 – They shall inherit the earth

    What does the Lord’s Prayer say -…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

    Much more could be written on this subject, but there is enough here to perhaps open an avenue of new thought for some. However, we are expected to study for ourselves what the Word of God reveals to us. We are expected to ‘prove all things’.

    A good many people may well be surprised and not a little disappointed in what God’s Word actually reveals about the coming future.

  21. Thank you so much for the comment. God bless!

  22. God bless you,your daughter and her mother’s soul. My prayers are with you.

  23. Heaven is in your heart. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  24. I would say… Our bodies are just a shell that God gives us to take care of while we’re here on earth. When we die, our spirit inside of us goes to heaven to be with Jesus.

  25. little sparrow on said:

    Just under a year ago when my little sister, was taken from us, it was very sudden and the day after we buried her (two days after she left us) my good friend stopped me in the street, he was kneeling in front of one of my sister’s little friends, holding her hands.

    ‘She asked me if Tina is sleeping. What do I say?’

    It’s so hard to explain to young children about death and heaven and all that. But if you tell them that she is sleeping (as it is often described in the Bible) and that Jesus will come and get her and take her to heaven, then they will rationalise this themselves. Children have a knack of just picking out the bits that they understand and fitting them together in a way that makes sense to them until they are old enough to understand it all.

    Another explanation is that we are all like dollies (this works best with girls) but we have a little bit inside us that makes us alive (soul/spirit). When we die, the dolly bit gets buried like when you throw away a broken toy (but be gentle and tactful about that bit) but the bit that makes us alive goes to heaven where God makes us princes/princesses. It is best only to base explanations on what is said in the Bible but put it in a way that a child can understand, usually a picture. Children are incredibly adaptable to circumstance but that doesn’t make them miss their loved ones any less. I think that perhaps, at times, chlidren understand these things far better than any adult.

    Just remember that Death is not natural. It followed sin into the world. But God is Sovereign. It is not wrong to miss people or to grieve them. I hope that this is even a little help or comfort to you.

    Tuhan memberkatimu

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