There is a certain level of reflection that occurs in each of us whenever we re-enter into a familiar place, circumstance, season, or tradition. My family always takes a vacation down to the Gulf sometime during the summer months; and the sand, ocean breezes, smells of seafood, and sunsets and sunrises always bring back a similar feeling. Those of us who write also find a renewed source of energy from new environments. There are different sights and people which bring on a sense of creativity that the typical day-to-day does not provide.
I remember so clearly this time last year. We were waiting on more tests to come back; and we were one week shy of the appointment in which the physician offered an answer to the question I had been afraid to ask: our girls were cognitively not on track. As I have been editing the book, I have been forced to walk down that journey yet again, and parts of it still sting like chards of glass. So many incredible lessons learned; yet not without bruises.
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.- Isaiah 53:5
These bruises, they are His.
He took ownership of them at the cross.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25).
I am most energized by moments alone with God and away from the crowd; and I am so thankful for a husband who knows this and encourages me to get away.
Yesterday morning, I slipped away to a little bench in the heart of the town we are staying in, and I just poured my heart out to God.
This time last year, we were still longing for answers. While my flesh still yearns for this knowledge; the things that it desires has shifted a little. I watched children running through the grass, holding a donut in one hand and their momma’s hand in the other, and I hurt. Every moment, an opportunity to want that which He has not chosen to give; yet in these moments, ample opportunity to say, “Amen” to what He in His wisdom has provided. As I sat and watched, words cannot truly express how much I longed for heaven; so much so that I began to feel ashamed and almost sad at the intensity of my longing. And then, it hit me. Not only is longing for heaven not sad; it is the purpose of my entire being.
The cross of Christ encompasses the entire point of all humanity.
Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can experience the hope of eternity both now and forever.
Instead of being disappointed in myself for wishing for the future; I can become giddy at the thought of it.
This longing for heaven does not have to make us feel sad. It can cause us to feel excited and ready and joyful that a day is coming when the victory He has already earned penetrates into every aspect of the lives of those of us who believe.
Widows and orphans will rejoice, no longer having a sense of loneliness or incompleteness.
Cancer will be over and gone; its effects forever banished.
The lame, blind, and deaf will run, see, and hear.
To put it bluntly: a day is coming where Satan’s lies will be brought fully into the light as all will bow down to the Lord in humble awe.
It will be a holy and beautiful thing.
In light of these truths, I became excruciatingly excited as I envisioned it all. I thought of my friends who have lost children, and the pain that this will continue to cause each and every day on this earth. I pictured the families I know who have walked through the hurt of daddies, mommies, grandparents- here one second and gone the next. I brought to mind the many families who carry the heavy burden of disability on a moment by moment basis and all that it entails.
It will all be no more. The tears, the pain, the grief, the separation- GONE.
For a moment, I could see Ally and Bailey Grace’s little bodies completely healed from their disease. I pictured them running and playing alongside the other children without an ounce of difficulty. Moving, breathing, eating, living will not be a struggle. While I am thankful for their feeding tubes, for I know they could not survive without them, I rejoice in the day that the girls will be fully nourished simply by their Father in heaven’s presence.
Friends, there is nothing wrong with recognizing brokenness for what it is and finding joy in the hope that only He can give. We can be at peace on this earth based on the sole fact that this earth is not all that is. An eternal home- our true home- is found in heaven. This place, while glimpses of Him are thrown throughout, is not where we are destined to be. Without this perspective, we will never be able to walk through this life in peace. We will always see the broken hurting pieces and be blinded by them unless we fix our eyes on the God who is sovereign over it all and has already promised that He has the victory. In light of Him, we can spend our days as foreigners on earth, homesick but hopeful.
That day is coming.
My prayer for each of us is that instead of getting lost in the pain, we could bring that pain to the foot of the cross and rejoice in the fact that He has nailed it there. I pray we would be authentic in our hurts, knowing that they cannot break us. May we long for the day in which we meet Him face-to-face and we are given new bodies in our eternal home. There is so much joy in what is to come! Let’s praise Him for instilling in us a holy longing for more; and thank Him that He allows the very things that draw us deeper into that longing.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’- Isaiah 40:1-5
And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 21:4).