Hello everybody! My brother spent 23 years in prison. He became close to the gentleman that works for prison ministries & travels out of the USA to also do missionary work. After about 7yrs he was SAVED! On 11-2-16 he passed after a year and a half of fighting terminal cancer. His intestines actually busted open. As he was being taken to the nearest hospital, he begged GOD & the people transporting him for anything for pain. He begged GOD over & over, but GOD let him suffer? It’s hard for me to understand because by this time he had done a lot of ministry work himself and had helped many to know CHRIST! Please trust me when I say that he was a WARRIOR FOR CHRIST! In all those years he never once got into any trouble of any kind. He had the respect of fellow inmates. Some men that were much bigger and younger tried a few times, but Chuck never backed away from doing the right thing! I personally think that they were scared of the HOLY SPIRIT in him. All of the inmates I met said that Chuck was the real deal. We received so many letters telling us how he had changed their lives and taught them about JESUS! The day before he died his last 3 words he said, with all the strength he had, raised one hand and looked towards the heavens and said “hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!” His mentor in prison told me that Chuck was in heaven praying for us. I don’t believe this because “there is no sorrow in heaven.” So if he is praying for us wouldn’t he have to know something about what is happening on earth? I think this can’t be or he would feel sorrow??? Can you help me understand the truth?
Hallelujah is right! How amazing the transformation that the Lord brought about in your brother. Take peace knowing he is now fully restored.
I believe his mentor was trying to bring you comfort, but strictly speaking it’s not biblical. We really don’t know. But I do think we can know that our loved one would be giving us all kinds of prayer support, if they could.
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Hello, Tina @Babychristian ! Wow, first I want to say, what a wonderful testimony your brother has left to encourage others still going through life here on earth! Thank you for sharing a little about his life, his faith, and his work in and for the Lord’s kingdom.
In regard to your question, unfortunately, the Bible does not always have an answer to every specific question we have. However, even if the saints in heaven (the saved followers of Christ who have passed through death into life with Him) did know of events happening on earth, it would not have to follow that they would be sorrowful or blue because of being aware of sad events. Looking at what Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, we can see that here on earth, we feel sorrow about the awful goings-on because we do not have a complete view of reality as God does. Paul says that for right now, we only partially see, but when the perfect comes, when we see Jesus face to face, we will have the full and perfect view of reality. That does not mean we will know everything; but what it does mean is that our entire beings will experience and understand the full reality of who God is. Knowing now that God is good and faithful and sovereign, working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28), how much more will we know and understand that when we are fully in His presence? So, whether or not those who are now with the Lord are aware of events in earthly life, they would not feel sorrow because of fully knowing the One who is governing it all according to His good purposes.
Now going back further in your post to your other question:
He begged GOD over & over, but GOD let him suffer?
First, I want to say, I am so very sorry to hear about the pain your brother went through and the pain it causes you to think of his suffering. Even though it is hard to understand, I, as well as others I am sure, am encouraged and edified in hearing of how your brother praised God with his last words through his pain. Rest assured, he was not alone in his suffering. We have a Savior who also suffered horrible pain who was able to go through that with him and keep him through it all. Your brother’s words remind me of the true meaning of the words, “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Though as God’s people, we will still endure earthly sufferings, we have a sure hope that the temporary sufferings we now go through–regardless of the cause or reason–“are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” because of what we, as God’s children, will now share in with Christ as fellow heirs of God’s kingdom.
I hope this encourages you, Tina, and will be praying for peace for you as you think on these things. God bless you for sharing, and I know and pray your brother’s testimony, as it is shared by you and others, will continue to touch hearts and lives for Jesus.
Thank you so much for responding to my post! I have never thought of his life that way before. Wow, you have opened my mind and spirit to a new perspective. GOD bless you!
If I may, I would like to get your thoughts on this: to this day I am still blown away and can’t understand why this was part of our last conversation. I started crying and my mother was trying to get me to stop, when my brother said, let her be, there is a time for crying. After I stopped crying, he asked me, if there’s one thing I can communicate for you in heaven, what would it be and I don’t want you to say- I’m sorry. I said would you tell…I’m sorry. Before I could get the word out of my mouth he stopped me and said I don’t want to hear any I’m sorry! Then I immediately said tell my children I love them. Then he immediately smiled at me as he was nodding his head yes to me as if that was what he wanted to hear me say? I don’t recall he and I having a conversation about that. I’m sure I told him. This was before he went to prison and certainly before I truly knew what I was doing! Early 1980s. I honestly didn’t think I was killing my children. I didn’t realize at the time the truth and the magnitude of what I was doing. It still puzzles me why he was even thinking about that. With in 12 hours he was gone. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t go to see him often enough while he was in prison. I never could deal with him being in prison. I cried every time I went to visit him, both going and leaving him. He never complained. He told me he would be ok if he never was paroled because he knew he was in GOD’S hands!!! I regret that I didn’t use Chuck’s great knowledge of the Bible. Now I have so many things I would ask him and when he did explain things to me, I could understand what he was saying, whereas when listening to Mr Ravi and his colleagues there are a lot of words I don’t understand. I wish there was another Mr Ravi that could talk to me and others that only graduated from high school. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. Thank you for letting me talk about this. I have no one else to talk to about my brother. GOD BLESS YOU AND THIS MINISTRY! I will continue to listen to MR RAVI ZACHARIAS and learn as much as I can. In my opinion there is just this gut feeling that he is the real deal and his delivery feels so caring. I hope in my life time he will come to Texas so I can meet him and say thank you
Hello, Tina. Thank you so much for being so open and transparent and willing to share. I am so glad you have found the Connect community to be a safe place to talk about these things. I’m glad we can be here for you to be a listening ear.
I can’t tell you what your brother was thinking, but from the little I could tease out of the bit of context you gave here, it seems like you have been through some heavy things, made some decisions, that have caused you immense pain and perhaps guilt (since you felt the need to say you were sorry). I have to say, my heart goes out to you, and I am indeed praying for you. Do you think it might be a possibility that your brother may have wanted you to forgive yourself…to be free from a burden of guilt or free from struggle over these past decisions and that is why he wanted you to say something other than “I’m sorry”? It is hard to receive God’s healing grace and forgiveness in our lives if we can’t bring ourselves to that place of releasing that awful heart burden of past mistakes or wrongs into His hands and letting what Jesus did on the cross be enough. What do you think?
Connect is a great place to ask Bible questions and to learn and grow in the knowledge of the things of the Lord. We have many great, knowledgeable, and experienced believers who are able to discuss those with you, and I’m sure you have a lot to bring to the table yourself. Even your questions help the rest of us learn and grow! But more importantly, I would encourage you, if you don’t go to one already, to seek out a local church in your area that you can get plugged into that has Bible studies in which you can participate and learn.
So glad to have been able to have this conversation with you, Tina! I am looking forward to seeing more posts and questions from you in the future ;).
Yesterday at a prayer meeting we read through Hebrews 11. That chapter of the Bible is a history lesson of those that God was able to use to further His plan for humanity because they believed God’s promise and walked in faith, even though they did not actually see the fulfillment of the promise in their lifetime.
Then the first verses of Hebrews 12 are:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Where it says “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,” that is a reference to those who had faith in God that have passed on. It may or may not be telling us that they are literally surrounding us, but it’s definitely showing us that their example, their faith is to inspire us to “run with endurance.” All of the greats examples of those who lived by faith in chapter 11, had tremedous challenges in their lives also.
Think of your brother as now being part of that great cloud of witnesses. A person who, by faith, completely turned his life around for God and was able to be used for a great purpose. Let me rephrase that–a great harvest. From that harvest more will come, those he helped save and/or encouraged can do the same for others. Potentially for many generations to come. Our God is a god of multiplication.
I agree with Lindsay’s encouragement to get plugged in to a church if you are not already in one and to get involved with a Bible study. Meanwhile, I encourage you to go to: thebibleproject.com. They have great illustrated videos to help you understand the Bible basics. They are designed to reach a wide audience so they keep the language and concepts easy to understand.
May the God Most High show you today and everyday that His fingerprints are all over your life. You are in His grip. Grip him back. Everyday. Be blessed Tina Jo.
@Babychristian sorry to hear about your brother. What a great testimony he left behind . You have been through a lot,May you find comfort and happiness in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Will be praying for you for that’s the only thing I can do to help you.
Jennifer, you are a GOD send. Thank you so much for for your encouragement & scriptures! I do have a church, and I’m learning from the Bible. YEAH!!! I live in a small town and there are some things I can’t talk about because of gossiping. So thanks to RZIM I can let it out and receive good advice on scriptures. I’m very grateful for that and so blessed that the LORD has let me live long enough to turn my life around! AMEN!!!
I want to thank you for your understanding and scriptures. I do attend my church, but there are some things I can not talk about because this is such a small town. Gossip. I wouldn’t want to say anything to hurt my mother. I’m learning, especially during Sunday school classes. I am Grateful for all parts of RZIM and very thankful that GOD has let me live long enough to turn my life around!! Your words of wisdom have had an impact on me. God bless you all!!!
Thank you Gwen, you say that is the only thing you can do for me? I think that is the best thing you can do for me! Praying for me is wonderful and I thank you for taking the time. God bless you!