4 He 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.
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
When things were very very hard, when I was very very pregnant on bedrest, when Charlie was very very sick or the twins were very very small, I did not long for heaven. I did not catch myself wishing to move on to what will be my permanent home. I think perhaps because it was all too intense. My nose was too close to the book, too in to the thick of the plot, to take a step back and trace the curve and take in the illustrations. When you’re living minute to minute and shift to shift in the NICU or feeding to feeding with multiples, you don’t really stop to ponder the big stuff, because the little stuff is already so big.
But now, when things are less intense, or more accurately, intense in a different way, I catch myself thinking about heaven more. Not the golden streets and mansions with many rooms, but the sweet hereafter where I will sing (in a better voice than I have now) praises to God and see Charlie walk and talk strong and feel the lasting peace that we are all ultimately happy, safe and loved. It’s not wishful thinking, because it’s not a wish, like blowing on a dandelion. It’s realistic thinking. It is the greater reality. And that’s when in rings true.
When I catch sight of the tips of lilies nudging out of the mulch that I planted on faith last fall, I think it. Oh heaven. Right. I am coming nearer. I am that nubby bulb, reaching up to the sun, but still in the murky darkness. The earth that is providing the nutrients, the experience, the friction will help me shed that tough outer layer so that when I arrive in the sun, Jesus can rinse me clean. It’s when I’m happiest that I remember heaven. When I feel a little of the warmth of spring that signals good things ahead. When the kids are loving each other as I prayed they would. When Jody and I stop to hug in the kitchen for no reason but to lean on each other a little before the bed time rush. When I make a really good loaf of bread. All of it points to something that’s going to be even better. I believe that’s what Easter does. It stirs my cravings for the rest of the meal, for the course beyond the appetizer, for when we get to see “everything new” and for when we get to be with Christ who “is [our] life” until the end.
C.S. Lewis once wrote in The Weight of Glory, “Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.”
Easter is a glimpse of the sunrise that will engulf my little flame. It’s the warm glow before the brilliant light. It’s what gets me longing. It is the extension of my life when it finishes its run under the soil. To go and be with Jesus will be, finally, to live a life above ground, forever and ever, amen.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s Biblically-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…