Question: "How can heaven be perfect if all of our loved ones are not there?"
Answer: The word perfection carries the idea of wholeness and a lack of nothing. If something is perfect, then it’s complete. So how can heaven be perfect if some people are missing? Wouldn’t it be better if all our loved ones were there?
God is perfect (Psalm 18:3). God’s dwelling place is perfect. God’s plan of salvation is perfect. In God’s plan (which is perfect) He extends the righteousness of Christ to all who trust in Him. What happens to those who do not trust in Christ? They are rejecting perfection, rejecting God’s dwelling place, and rejecting God Himself. As John 3:18 says, “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” To force people to believe, to ignore their sin, or to bypass Christ would be to destroy the perfection of heaven.
When we arrive in heaven, our perspective will change. Our limited, earthly perspective will be replaced by a holy, heavenly perspective. Speaking of the eternal state, Revelation 21:4 says that God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Missing our loved ones would presumably fall under the category of pain or mourning. Perhaps we will have no knowledge or remembrance of them at all. Perhaps we will have come to understand how our loved ones’ absence glorifies God. “Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us” (1 Corinthians 13:12, CEV). In the meantime, we accept by faith that what God says about heaven is true and that we will experience perfection for all eternity.
For a brief description of eternity, see Revelation 21—22. Everything is made new; everything is splendid, glorious, and blessed. That will include us. Our bodies, souls, and spirits will be completely blessed. Sin will no longer be a factor, and our thoughts will be in agreement with God’s (1 John 3:2). God has a plan to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1), to perfect His redeemed (Hebrews 10:14), and to provide for them for all eternity (Psalm 23:6).
Right now, our focus should not be on how we can enjoy heaven or the eternal state without all of our loved ones there; rather, we should focus on how we can point our loved ones to faith in Christ—so that they will be there.