Lately, my heart has been heavy.
It seems all around us the world is continuing to get darker and darker. The tenuous fabric of the human race is unraveling into greater and greater chaos. Sickness and disease run rampant. Dysfunction plagues families. Stress torments minds. Neighbor rises against neighbor, giving in to hatred and fear. And the list could go on and on...
On the days when the pains of life feel too sharp to bear, I’ve found in myself that longing feeling, like something is missing. It brings to my mind a quote by the acclaimed Christian author, C. S. Lewis:
"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
~ Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis
Lewis was correct. We were not made for this place of pain and strife. When God formed us, He did so with the intention of bringing us up out of this broken existence and into another home. Our true home.
Jesus spoke this promise to us Himself in John 14:2-3:
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
John 4:2-3 KJV
Those words feel like a balm to my soul. As Christians, the hope and promise of Heaven is one of the greatest gifts our God gives us, if not the greatest gift, because even salvation itself would have no purpose if not for the fact that it grants us entrance into eternal life
I remember when I was a little girl, hearing about the return of Jesus made me feel almost panicked inside. I would think, “No, not yet, Lord! There’s too much I want to do! I want to get married, I want to have kids, I want… I want… I want.”
Heaven sometimes felt like more of a death to my dreams than an eternal paradise. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I have come to realize--and regret--the foolishness of those thoughts. Of course, I love my life on earth and there is so much I still want to do with it. I have dreams I’d like to see become reality, goals to meet, and I dearly hope to be a mother someday. But now, I can see that all of that is trivial when compared to the beauty of eternal life with our Lord and Savior.
My family recently lost a close family member--my great-uncle. He was a mighty man of God--a preacher, in fact--and was always known for telling the best jokes. The news of his passing after a battle with Alzheimer’s felt like a rock settling in my chest. Even though he lived a thousand miles away from me, in Florida, I loved him and, more importantly, knew how much he was loved by my grandmother and other family members that knew him better than I did. My heart broke for my grandmother who had just lost her only brother and couldn’t even be at his side when he passed. An aching hurt welled up inside, but then I reminded myself that this is not the end. We have the hope of another world beyond this one. A place where we will be reunited with our loved ones. A place where Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's, and cancer cannot exist. A place where all chaos will die and only peace with reign. The bonds of this fallen world can’t hold us down, because those chains are broken the moment salvation covers your soul.
The end of my uncle’s struggle in this life was not a loss. It was a gain.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Phillipians 1:21 KJV
The power of the grave is null and void. Death is overturned. Hell is defeated. Because Jesus lives and grants His life to us, as well.
Oh, what a beautiful thought!
All of these musings about this hope we have brings to my mind an old song that my precious grandmother used to sing--and every once in awhile, still sings--in church. Here are some of the lyrics:
This old house I’m living in is needing repair
The windows and the shutters are letting in the cold, cold air
I say to myself, I’m gonna fix them when I can get the time
But all I’ve been getting lately is leaving on on mind
Lately all I’ve got is leavin’ on my mind
Seems that’s all I’m thinkin’ about most of the time
Soon and very soon I’ll leave my troubles far behind
Lately I’ve got leavin’, leavin’ on my mind
I guess I should be looking for a better place to live
I can’t seem to get excited about this world and what it can give
I couldn’t care less if I could buy it all with a solitary dime
What good would a world down here do me with leaving on my mind
~ “Leaving on My Mind,” Rusty Goodman
The pleasures of this world lose their luster more every year, and all the riches of this earth will one day mean nothing. But the hope of Heaven is more precious than anything this earth can give, and the promise of that Other World sounds sweeter every day.