The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life. Proverbs 15:4a
Many healing words have been spoken over me in the last 24 hours. Today we mark 5 years without our sweet Audrey here with us.
Even for a mama who has submitted herself to what I will call “total immersion boot camp” in God’s Word and slogged stubbornly through grief to experience more victory than most ever will--seeing things from Audrey’s perspective is an uphill battle. My view of Heaven is (still) too limited. It is clouded by the things I have seen here on earth and the problems that are yet unresolved.
Even my best hope is too dim. I need breadcrumbs. Reminders. People to point me toward home.
My friend Andrea came to visit yesterday. In town for a funeral and to spend time with her dying grandmother, she knows all too well the reality of this life. She is one of my favorite friends to spend time with because she has an eternal perspective that sharpens mine. And, when I lose my ability to see the finish line, she reminds me it is still there.
Even though she was exhausted, she would not get on that plane home to Arizona without bringing me a gift in time for Audrey’s Heavenly birthday—a beautiful silver James Avery pin depicting the love of mother and child and a children’s devotional book called Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones, writer of The Jesus Storybook Bible.
I surprised even myself when I dissolved into a puddle of tears and said, “I can’t wait to hold her again. But, I’m not sure I can even picture it anymore.”
That’s what’s wrong. I just can’t picture it. I can’t SEE it. I have GOT to be able to envision it, I thought to myself.
As we chatted into the wee hours, she shared a conversation she had with her 5-year-old son Dean:
“Grandma is very sick and is not going to get better,” Andrea prepared her son.
“I remember when you went to her 90th birthday party last year,” Dean said thoughtfully.
After a long pause, he continued, “I guess she is not going to have another birthday, is she?”
“No, she probably won’t,” his mother replied, “But, I think birthday parties in Heaven are even better than the ones here.”
“Yep.” Dean’s little mind and heart spun with imagination.
“Birthday parties in Heaven probably have mini-golf…and trains…and a carousel…and little boats…and little airplanes to ride, just like Kiddie Acres.”
Andrea, pondering the run-down appearance of the children’s amusement park (and feeling a bit deflated) replied, “I bet so. But, it probably won’t be as barren or ugly and would probably have some flowers instead of dead grass.”
Without missing a beat, Dean agreed, “Yes, it would probably have lots of beautiful flowers…like Kauai Mini Golf!”
Ladies and gentlemen, the theology of babes. Gets right to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?
Do you see the obvious difference in the imagery? Kauai Mini Golf beats the pants off of Austin’s Kiddie Acres (which, if I remember correctly, was a favorite of Andrea’s growing up). Kiddie Acres doesn’t look the same 30 years later and from a grown-up’s perspective. Somehow, it is worn and sad.
Our view of Heaven can likewise be dim. What happens when we restore it a bit? Adjust the color and brightness? Add in some lush landscaping and some real joy? In Heaven, even a place like Kiddie Acres will be restored to its original brilliance. And, yes, birthday parties there will rock!
My conclusion? Because what I see here is lacking, my vision of there better not be!
I could use an upgrade from my Kiddie Acres view to the Kauai Mini Golf view. Especially today.
My guess is that you could, too. Is your perspective shortsighted and lacking the grandeur worthy of the place God says He is preparing for those who love Him? Is your image of Heaven a little bit disappointing? Sister, there will be no reason for disappointment once we see what God has planned for us. That’s a guarantee!
What is drawing your view earthward? What is robbing you of that more glorious, pristine vision?
Follow these breadcrumbs with me: The One who created all things and called them “good” is in the process of restoration. Imagine with me His shining masterpieces (His people and His earth) returned to their former glory—free from the stain of unfulfilled dreams, fear, and sadness and devoid of the evidence of decay. Clean. Lush. Beautiful to behold. Fun. Exciting. Ready to explore. Comforting. Peaceful. Inviting soul’s rest. Safe. And, truly free.
THIS, my friends, is what awaits us! And, though the tug of despair in this place can be strong and though world-weary wear-and-tear abounds, the power of God’s plan to redeem is stronger yet…holding more sway over my heart now than the things I have suffered and seen.
One day, John knew, Heaven would come down and mend God’s broken world and make it our true, perfect home once again.
And he knew, in some mysterious way that would be hard to explain, that everything was going to be more wonderful for once having been so sad.
And he knew then 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.
“I’m on my way,” said Jesus. “I’ll be there soon!”
John came to the end of his book. But he didn’t write “The End.” Because, of course, that’s how stories finish. (And this one’s not over yet.)
So instead, he wrote: “Come quickly, Jesus!”
Which, perhaps, is really just another way of saying…to be continued.
From The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Audrey, I can’t wait to see what you see. I am trusting that everything will be more wonderful for once having been so sad.
Andrea’s reminder of this truth and the countless joys I have yet to experience are the breadcrumbs that will lead me home.