Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Can Our Loved Ones See Us From Heaven?

In my work with women breaking free from addiction and abuse, there is one question I have avoided answering. It is a topic that invariably comes up in discussions about regret.  

“Now that I am sober, can my mother-father-granny-pawpaw see me from heaven? I want them to know that I finally got right with God. They would be so happy for me!”

Most of the time I would like my parents to know what I’ve done since their deaths. But frankly, there are a lot of days I’d rather they didn’t. Maybe I’m grumpy, fighting sinful urges, gaining weight, or wallowing in self-recrimination. I doubt that every moment of my life would bring them joy. Furthermore, it feels like an invasion of my privacy for them to eternally spy on me from heaven.

So, is it possible for our deceased loved ones to watch us, and maybe even visit when the situation warrants? Scripture does document incidents of movement from one to the other. Two biblical accounts come to mind.

King Saul was terrified when he saw the Philistine army prepare to attack the armies of Israel. (1 Samuel 28) Worse yet, the Lord refused to advise him through dreams, sacred lots, or his prophets. So Saul disguised himself and traveled by night to a medium at Endor who called down the deceased prophet Samuel.

“Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked. Saul explained the gravity of his situation and the prophet’s reply was anything but reassuring. “…The Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me.” The following day went just like Samuel prophesied.

Second, Matthew documented the incident when Jesus took his three closest disciples with him up a high mountain. “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance changed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became dazzling white. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking to Jesus.” (Matt 17:2-3)

Apparently the saints in glory (when willed by God) can travel back and forth for specific assignments.

Certified life coach and author R.J. Thesman talks about a woman she met in a nursing home. In her 80’s, Cora loved reminiscing about her life during World War II, the Depression, and the rebuilding of America. She had a son, Buddy, who loved his dog. They often played peek-a-boo in the backyard cavorting under the sheets drying on the clothesline and jumping over the old tree stump. Buddy died in the flu epidemic of 1918, causing Cora to grieve deeply.

Then one day she heard the dog barking. She looked in the backyard and saw something that had not happened since Buddy became ill. The dog was jumping over the tree stump and played peek-a-boo under the drying sheets. She felt certain their dog was playing with her son, even though she herself could not see him. That was the day her broken heart began to heal.

Why would someone in heaven even want to watch what is happening on earth? Could it be that God protects the deceased from sadness, but allows them to see people and events that bring them joy?

Hebrews 12:1 says, “We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” The implication is that within that cloud are those who’ve gone before us. They cheer us on, praising God for our progress as we “run with endurance the race set before us.”

Since God is with us, and our saved love ones are with Him, perhaps they really aren’t so far away.