A longing for heaven

If you would have asked me 10 years ago my thoughts on going to heaven I would have quoted the yet to be written Kenny Chesney song – “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to go now!” Maybe I still viewed my salvation as a cosmic insurance policy that I cash in when the end is near? Maybe I didn’t know enough about what heaven really was to care to be there any sooner than I had to? I don’t know – but when I searched my heart I could honestly tell you that not only would I go kicking and screaming but I was CERTAINLY not longing for heaven!

Enter in Kevin & Amy Tollefson. 2 of the sweetest people on the planet. They were Grant’s 1st Sunday school teachers when he was just 9 months old and though they had no kids of their own they took immense joy in loving on those they were in charge of 1 hour a week. We grew to be friends and were so excited for them as they welcomed Samuel into the world! He was sweet and perfect and at 9 months old diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of cancer. They battled as a family for another 9 months until he finally went home to heaven. During his illness we had moved away but kept up with them through a CaringBridge blog and email and felt like we walked the journey closely with them. To say I was affected was an understatement. The day I heard of his death I spent the morning at a neighbor’s house in a fog, as though one of my own had been taken from me. I was in awe of Kevin & Amy’s strength (though I’d always known their faith was strong) and how they spoke of letting him go, knowing that he was healed and in Jesus’ arms and how one day they’d all be together again. They spoke of their longing for heaven like they’d never known it before and I remember confessing that day – “I don’t long for heaven! I can’t even comprehend what that feels like! Lord, give me that!”

The way God works with me is rarely a lightening bolt answer to prayer. It is more of a slow continual climb until one day I look back and I am up on a mountain wondering how and when I got so high?

In the years since God has steadily built that longing into me. I can honestly say that I DO want to go now! (Sorry Kenny!) I literally could go on for days here writing all that I have learned and what has formed this change in me, but I’ll try and bullet point it for you the best I can:

1. I realize that heaven is my true home.
There is a way to see this world for what it is – to step back and peek through the curtain and see what is really going on here. It isn’t as though this life doesn’t matter — we are here for a purpose — but everything in this world is temporary and fades. Relationships, building and maturing our hearts, serving others – those things are eternal. It is both freeing and exhilarating to grasp this!

2. I know that this is how I am wired.
A common push back of heaven is that it is a 24/7 praise fest and if you aren’t a singer that doesn’t hold much appeal! How boring! We prefer the opposite view that heaven is all that WE want it to be — a beach paradise, your own golf course, perfectly behaved kids (no tears, right?) But if we are wired so that what brings God glory brings us ultimate joy, then let the praise fest begin!! There is no such thing as boredom!! We will be doing what we were ultimately made to do and THAT is why there is no tears, no sadness. I will FINALLY be were everything fits – everything makes sense.

3. I studied Revelation.
I happened to do Beth Moore’s study on Revelation but I think that any good study will yield the same result. God started in Genesis with a plan that gets fully worked out in Revelation. Nothing is an accident. All gets made right. I encourage you to study it. Reflect on the wedding banquet as a picture of what heaven will be like! Who can’t get excited about that!!

4. I read ‘Heaven is for Real’ and ’90 minutes in Heaven’.
In either true story account – whether from a 3 year old boy or a middle aged pastor – the fact remains: after getting a glimpse of heaven they longed to return!! They saw life here on earth differently and didn’t hold it in such a tight grip. Sweet Colton would encourage people on their death beds of what awaited them! I truly believe that we are given these accounts as an encouragement to long for greater things!

It has taken many years and didn’t happen overnight but that longing is there in me – so much so that sometimes it hurts. I talk with my kids about it all the time in the hope that they could grow up with this longing and view heaven as their true home. How much easier would that make the pressures of adolescence and the teen years? And how much easier will it make the struggles of this life — including a grandparent with stage 4 cancer — to know where our true hope lies?

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 10:23 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Wow, Amy. Beautifully said.

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