Death comes to us all, but it doesn’t stop us worrying about it. When Jemimah Wright’s father died, she grew closer to understanding how real heaven is.

dad grave

A few years ago I interviewed a girl who died in a bomb, met Jesus face to face*, and came back to life. What struck me was her joy, despite the hardships she was still living in on earth. She told me, ‘Jemimah, joy is the currency of heaven.’ The way she talked about meeting Jesus, and being overwhelmed by his love and power was extraordinary.

I watched death up close when my dad died in November 2020. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly fifteen years previously, and even though it was aggressive and the prognosis was bad, he had lived in relative health until early 2019 when a side effect of an operation meant the cancer left the prostate and spread around his body.

My dad was 86 when he died, so many could say that was a ‘good innings’ but it felt too soon, as he was still full of passion and purpose, spurred on by the Great Commission to tell everyone he met about the good news of Jesus.

This did not stop when he got ill. Every nurse, doctor and hospital porter got a word of encouragement or were asked if they knew where they were going when they died, and if not, would they like help to know?

My dad knew without doubt that heaven was his home, however he longed for people to see the power and goodness of God on earth

My dad knew without doubt that heaven was his home, however he longed for people to see the power and goodness of God. He told us that if God didn’t heal his body on this earth, he may want to raise him from the dead after he died! So, he asked me and my mum to pray for him to be resurrected if he did die. He asked us this when he was at the hospice, still believing that with one touch from Jesus, he would be healed.

We agreed, but I remember thinking, you are not going to want to come back when you are there!

My dad eventually died in the night in November 2020, and his body was transferred from the hospice to the funeral home. We knew we had to honour his wishes, but I was nervous. I had never seen a dead body, how would I cope seeing my father’s corpse?

My mother, one of my brothers, and a couple from the Norfolk Healing Rooms, and I turned up at the funeral home. The staff thought we were just visiting to pay our last respects. None of us were going to disclose we were actually going to pray for him to be raised from the dead!

They directed us along a corridor with plush carpets and soft music playing, and opened the door to one of the rooms. There on a table was my father’s body, with a sheet over him. My brother lifted the sheet from his face so we could see him.

I had a picture of my dad as a younger man, jumping up and down saying, ‘It’s better than you think!’

When I saw him, I wasn’t afraid. I understood my dad’s soul and spirit were no longer in his body. We began to worship in the room, and then prayed, asking for God to bring my father back if it was his will. However, as we prayed, I had a vision of Dad as a younger man, jumping up and down saying, ‘It’s better than you think!’

That settled it for me. He had made it, he ended well. The pain of death no longer held a sting. Now the baton was passed on, and we needed to, as Hebrews 12:1 says, ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’

Philippians 3:20 says, ’But our homeland is in heaven, where our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, is; and we are looking forward to his return from there.’

We are all going to die one day. Some of us may be facing it sooner than others. If you are afraid of death, let these stories be an encouragement to you. Romans 10:9 says  ’For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ In your salvation, you have found a home in heaven, and as I felt my dad say; ‘its better than you think!’

 * You can read her story in Face to Face with Jesus