I've been thinking a lot about heaven lately. I can say that more and more I am longing for His kingdom to come to earth. Not in the shallow, immediate way most of us think of it. (i.e. “The American Dream” big house, bigger car, football scholarships and beauty queens…) but truly longing to be a part something different. Something whole. A longing to know the bigger picture, the beautiful story He has told and is telling.
My friend Nancy died last week. What a beautiful person. She was a safe place. Even as I think of her I’m not sure what to do with myself. Weeping is the only appropriate response right now. Russ and I tried to think of other words to express what we feel, but the best way we could describe it was simply sadness and joy. Both. Together. Deeply.
I haven’t had even a moment to grieve yet. All of the events that surround death kind of block that out sometimes (unfortunately), especially when you’re caring for two little babies (one that has the flu) in the midst. So now it comes. The house is quiet except for some music in the background. I was cutting Russ’ hair overcome with a deep sense of loss. I miss Nancy. Actually, I started missing her a while ago when she wasn’t able to sing with us anymore. Then again when she wasn’t able to come to church and we were only able to visit her every once in a while. Still again when she was only able to sit – her movement so hindered… Yes, we lost a great deal when she went to be with Jesus.
Somehow though, even more than loss, I feel such deep hope – like a huge, enormous, glaring light at the end of the tunnel. The Father. King Jesus. Precious Spirit. A longing for all that He is more than I’ve ever known up until this point. Not necessarily because I will get to see my friend again, although I welcome the day… No, it started before she passed away. Questions started rolling around in my mind about “heaven” and I wondered if we were just getting it all wrong. It’s so much better than we could imagine. So much more than tons of fleshly desires fulfilled (and actually not even this at all!). My heart started to turn towards an intense awareness that we’re living for something more; and we will see it one day. We’re stuck in our pews right now (or should I more appropriately say we are stuck with our light shows, rock band worship teams (of which I am a part of!) and iconic logos, branding ourselves rather than Jesus without realizing it). Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with the church. I love the church and know fully that He uses His church. But the sense that lives are at stake is coming into view. The sense that life is only Jesus is becoming apparent.
The song playing in the background (which I just tuned into – tears streaming down my face) says, “And we will see him coming on the clouds of heaven. Exalted. We will see him high and lifted up. He reigns in majesty.” This is what it is all about. Actually, this is the only thing that it is about.
Another song that marks this current time says, “No weeping. No hurt or pain. No suffering. You hold me now. No darkness. No sick or lame. No hiding. You hold me now.” I’m so glad Nancy is with you Father…no longer sick. Still, my favorite phrase in that song is, “no hiding.” Seems like all of the other lyrics would be more powerful – almost like the author got that phrase wrong and it doesn’t fit. But hiding started with Adam and Eve. Hiding is laced throughout so many stories in the Bible. Hiding continues. And not only in dark alleys and forbidden places, but in the hearts of everyone. How we needed a Savior. How I needed a Savior and still need his salvation every day. I was lost. I’m sure in many ways I was even hiding. And now I am found. This is the kind of hope I’m talking about. Thanks Nance, for reminding me of this.