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  • Writer's pictureRyne

My Son is Already There: A Father's Thoughts About Heaven

Over the past few months, writing has been difficult. While many factors play into this, one of the biggest is that I haven’t given myself the mental space to write. When I started writing two years ago, I wanted to share our story of loss. Rachel and I had been through so many trials with the loss of Anders, but we’d also seen God at work in such big ways. What I didn’t realize when I began was how much writing would help me process everything that we’ve been through.

While writing about grieving and child loss, while writing about my hope and faith in Jesus, lots of questions have needed answers. Some questions have been more difficult to answer than others, not knowing what I would find.

A few weeks ago, while sitting with Linnea in church, our pastor stood in front of the congregation during the announcements. He shared news of a tragic accident involving one of the women in our church. One lady sitting behind me let out an audible gasp as she heard our pastor tell the story.

As I sat there and listened to his emotional announcement to the church about a beloved sister-in-Christ that was now in the presence of her Savior, January 13th, 2019 came flooding back to me. In the same church I was now sitting, our pastor shared a similar announcement about Anders. Over the past few weeks, I have thought about and prayed for the family walking through the tragic and sudden loss of a loved one. I continue to be brought back to the pain I felt in the weeks following Anders’s death.

Death's pain still stings.

We are two and a half years down this road of loss and it still hurts.

But there is real hope. After the announcements, the worship band stepped up to their microphones and sang:

[Verse 1]

How I long to breathe the air of Heaven

Where pain is gone and mercy fills the streets

To look upon the One who bled to save me

And walk with Him for all eternity


There will be a day when all will bow before Him

There will be a day when death will be no more

Standing face to face with He who died and rose again

Holy, holy is the Lord

[Verse 2]

And every prayer, we prayed in desperation

The songs of faith, we sang through doubt and fear

In the end, we'll see that it was worth it

When He returns to wipe away our tears (Oh)


There will be a day when all will bow before Him

There will be a day when death will be no more

Standing face to face with He who died and rose again

Holy, holy is the Lord

[Verse 3]

And on that day, we join the resurrection

And stand beside the heroes of the faith

With one voice, a thousand generations

Sing, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain"

And on that day, we join the resurrection

And stand beside the heroes of the faith

With one voice, a thousand generations

Sing, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain

Forever He shall reign"

Singing the beautiful truths of scripture after having learned of a member of our church community that was now face-to-face with Jesus, brought tears to my eyes. Tearing up during worship used to be a rarity - now it is the norm. But as the tears rolled off my cheeks and onto the head of my daughter who was holding onto me as we sang, all I could think about was my son who is face-to-face with King Jesus.

As my mind drifted to Anders, my heart was full of hope of a reunion with him one day. I am at peace knowing that he won’t experience the difficulties and trials of a broken and sinful world. Instead, he is literally in perfection for all eternity.

For the first 18 months after he died, I looked forward to heaven to see my son again. I wanted to hug him again. He hadn’t been able to say much, so I am looking forward to having a conversation with him. I often would tell people that I hoped that Anders could show me around heaven - be my tour guide.

“And every prayer, we prayed in desperation

The songs of faith, we sang through doubt and fear.

In the end, we’ll see that it was worth it

When He returns, to wipe away our tears”

We spent the longest and yet the shortest three days of our lives praying over Anders in the hospital. Hundreds of people, all across the country, prayed that God would miraculously heal our boy. And when he took his last breath, people prayed for Rachel and me - for our family - for healing and for peace.

When he died, Rachel and I were encouraged to point people to the hope that we still have in Jesus. We had both felt His peace throughout the most difficult of days. Our response was to sing praises to him. God is still good - God is ALWAYS good.

Over time, the more I prayed and the more I read, the more it became real to me that Anders shouldn’t be what I most look forward to in heaven. The more I thought about heaven and even prayed that it would come quickly, the more my hope in heaven deepened. If heaven is only about me seeing my son again, I really have missed the point. Even though I still long to see Anders, what I am most excited about is meeting Jesus.

Billy Graham said of his arrival in heaven, “The most thrilling thing about heaven is that Jesus Christ will be there. I will see Him face to face. Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of life’s journey.”

When thinking back to that hospital room in Fargo, Anders felt the hands of his mother and father as he breathed his last breath only to be in the presence of his heavenly Father the next instant.

Surrounded by the ones that loved him most, Anders opened his eyes for the first time in three days to see the glorious and awesome face of Jesus.

Someday that will be me as well.

Last month, one of the other pastors I listen to shared a three-week series about heaven and hell. You can check out Part I (Hell), Part II (What Satan Does Not Want You to Know About Heaven), and Part III (What Will Heaven Be Like?) here. If you've ever been interested in learning more about what the Bible says about heaven and hell, that three-part series is a good place to start.

What stuck out the most to me was that the greatest joy in heaven will be praising Jesus for the sacrifice of his life. Jesus conquered death through his death on the cross. Jesus was the lamb sent to pay the price for my sin - and your sin.

As a result of that sacrifice, my faith in King Jesus gives me the hope of eternal life. A life spent in heaven for all eternity. There will be all kinds of other benefits of heaven - no pain, no tears, no sin - but Jesus, Jesus is the center of it all.

“And on that day, we join the resurrection

And stand beside the heroes of the faith

With one voice, a thousand generations

Sing, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain"

I hope that in heaven, while standing beside heroes of the faith, I also get to stand beside Anders, with our hands lifted up, praising the lamb and King! The little life that God brought into Rachel and my life for 347 days has taught me more about our loving Father than all of the rest of my life experiences.

But still, there is more. A person who places their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior shouldn’t do so only for eternal life in the future, but of the life-changing power that Jesus has on your present.

When Jesus rose to heaven after raising himself from the dead, God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers still on earth. A life devoted to Jesus, a person focused on Jesus, a person who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior has the opportunity to experience a little bit of heaven on this broken earth.

For Rachel and I, that has come in the form of peace after losing Anders and joy in the midst of sorrow and pain. As we walked the long, difficult road of infertility for seven years, we continued to experience peace in the middle of sadness.

If we got to write our own stories, there is no way that we would have chosen an infertility struggle. We would have never picked child loss. But, within the holy and perfect plan of God, our struggles have deepened our faith in Christ. We've also been given many opportunities to share God's goodness through our trials.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 (NLT)

All of us will have trials. We will all have sorrows. That’s the result of a fallen world. But when we have peace in Jesus, that peace isn’t for after we die - but for the rest of our life on earth as well.


* Follow along with my writing journey by following @RyneJungling on Instagram or Mission Anders on Facebook.


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