A friend and I were talking about longing for heaven a mere week ago. Our hearts both seeing the beauty around us as heaven comes to earth now, but also the brokenness around us that we long to be made whole. It wasn’t but a few days later that she endured some really hard news and was struck afresh by brokenness. News that makes you cling to the hope of God being sovereign and Jesus coming back.
It reminds me to read one of my hands-down-favorite stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. The interpretation of Revelation, “A Dream of Heaven”, which I can’t get through without weeping and choking out the words… Hear the beauty and power in this:
“And the King says, ‘Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes, they’re gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see – I have wiped every tear from every eye!’…..And John knew, in some mysterious way that would be hard to explain, that everything was going to be more wonderful for having been so sad. And he knew that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.”
Wow. The sadness and tears will seem like a shadow because the ending will be so great. I can’t fathom. I can never read through that without getting choked up so I let my kids see my tears this time and ask me why. I tell them, “I can be thankful even for something like MS because I get to have a longing for heaven I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I wouldn’t have thought I needed to be made new if I didn’t know brokenness. I wouldn’t long for it if I saw the world only through the eyes of the well.”
Russ Ramsey says, “Unmet desires in this life are intended to arouse a hunger for the next. Physical limitations are felt as an ache for a perfected body. Coming face to face with my mortality has awakened my appetite for eternity. As I have stood at the summit and surveyed the distant mountains beyond, I have longed to explore. Beyond what I can see lies a glory I was made to behold. The grand adventure tugs at my heart…Tim Keller wrote, ‘Human beings are hope shaped creatures. The way you live now is completely controlled by what you believe about the future’. This isn’t a hope we can create or muster. It must be given. And by the grace of God it is – a hope that ‘does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’ (Romans 5:5-6)” (Struck, pg 152-153)
I feel awakened. Awakened to the reality that I can’t fathom the wonder of heaven. Awakened to pain around me, and because of that, awakened far more to the beauty around me. Awakened to adventure and living to the fullest — whether it’s resting really well and not feeling guilty about it or doing something challenging and exhilarating I didn’t think I could do.
I believe, for myself, my family, and my dear friends, that God is good. God is sovereign – mysteriously beyond me in wisdom and love. I believe He is restoring and making all things new around me and you, even now, in the way our kids laugh, the way our taste buds delight in delicious food, and a good story can make us laugh and cry simultaneously. I want to embrace that and live fully – hoping, lamenting, laughing, and dancing – in sorrow and in joy, as we get tastes of heaven on earth. I believe that when He comes back finally and fully that He will make things new in a way we can’t even imagine and better than we could even dream. Hungering for that Kingdom changes that way I laugh, grieve, love, and dance here. I know it can change you too.