In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also John 14:2-3 (ESV).
Friend to Friend
He sat in his favorite overstuffed chair. Pictures of his children and grandchildren hung on the wall. His wife of nearly 60 years sat not far away.
“It’s time to go home,” he declared.
My father-in-law had struggled with dementia for a long time. This once strong, funny patriarch couldn’t remember those he had loved. He didn’t know where home was anymore, even as he sat in the house he built and had lived in for decades. Toward the end, this became a regular battle. Finally, his sons came up with a plan. When he announced he wanted to go home, one of them would grab their coat.
“Let’s go,” they’d say.
My father-in-law would pile in the passenger seat of his car and one of his sons would drive him around. Upon returning, they’d re-enter the house. He was satisfied that he was finally home – at least for a while.
In today’s key scripture, Jesus has announced that he’s leaving. His friends can’t imagine life without Jesus being physically present. It’s shaking up everything that makes them feel safe. Jesus speaks into their troubled hearts with assurance.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3 ESV).
Their physical separation would be temporary. A beautiful reunion would one day take place. Jesus was personally preparing a home for them so they could be together for eternity. I’m not sure these followers fully understood what Jesus was saying, but one day they would. They’d step from earth to heaven and be at home with Jesus.
My father-in-law’s disease worsened. Family gathered. Nearly forty of us laughed, cried, and gathered around his bedside. Soon his struggle was over. When the call came in the middle of the night, I lay in bed and tears fell.
I was grieved to lose my father-in-law, but mine were tears were of joy. I imagined Jimmy strolling into heaven, his ornery, funny self, made whole. I imagined him greeting his brothers and sisters and his mom and his dad. I thought about the moment that Jimmy took his last breath here on earth and his first in heaven.
Jimmy was welcomed by Jesus. His restlessness was put to ease. His joy was greater than any of us could conceive. His mind and body were freed.
We still miss him. We tell stories of how he once danced in the living room, or how he delighted in jumping out from behind things to “surprise” his daughters-in-law or grandchildren. Yet underlying our sadness is this truth: he’s finally home and there’s nowhere he’d rather be.
Heavenly Father, losing a loved one is so hard, but I am grateful my loved one is safely home with You. Thank You for this comforting truth.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Throughout scripture, sorrow and joy often walk hand in hand. It’s okay to feel sad. When we love greatly, we often sorrow greatly. The joy comes in knowing that our loved ones are walking with Jesus.
Don’t push away your feelings today. Invite Jesus to step into them with you.
More from the Girlfriends
If you’ve experienced loss or sorrow, Suzie’s book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places is a practical, gentle book to help you begin the process of healing.
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Prayer is a powerful way to connect with God through loss and grief. Listen to Suzie’s daily podcast, Prayer Starters, with the KLRC podcast network. It’s a 3–4-minute dose of the Word, a bit of encouragement, and a prayer starter to begin a conversation with God, right where you are.
© 2023 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
My mom is suffering from dementia and mental illness. The hospice team recommended that me and my sister take a break from visiting as she is in a dark place and needs to find her own peace with God. This is just heartbreaking but it is forcing me to fully submit to Him. I cannot fix this or control this, and I’m praying that He will sustain me through this and offer the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Today I was remembering my father who passed away June of last year. He also suffered from the beginnings of dementia and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to to be with him last three months of his life. I was undergoing treatment for cancer and I didn’t want him to worry about my health.
I know he’s with the Lord and my Mom whom he missed, so much. Miss you Daddy☝🏽❤️