I had the heart-wrenching, joyous, bittersweet experience of losing my dad on January 6, 2012—his birthday. Our loss was truly his gain! He had been battling rapidly deteriorating health before God graciously took him home.

A mysterious thing happened at the time of his death. While Dad was still breathing, my mother—who had been holding his hand and tenderly kissing him—turned and said, “He’s gone, he’s gone . . . I know it. I can go back home now.” She then slowly stepped from the care facility room and began walking down the hall. My sister, who had continued to watch Dad, suddenly noticed his chest rise and fall for the last time.

How did Mom know Dad was “gone” even as his body continued to function? Two things come to mind: We’re spiritual beings; and she had been his bride for many years. She knew his presence.

In 2 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul wrote about something we experienced that night. He said that each of our bodies is an “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 5:1) and that when we leave this life “we will be at home with our Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul, who recognized the frailty of his own “tent” as he battled hardships in Ephesus (2 Corinthians 1:8-11), looked with confident hope to a glorious future with his resurrected Savior—being with Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Philippians 3:20-21).

Why did Paul have such hope? He wrote, “We know that God who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us . . . to Himself” (2 Corinthians 4:14). He knew that, in time, we who believe in Jesus will have “an eternal body made for us by God Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Somehow my mom knew that Dad had departed. But she also confidently knew where he had gone.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 20:1-20