In the last few weeks, I have watched a wife grieve the sudden death of her 49 year old husband, and a husband grieve the unexpected death of his 85 year old wife. The latter were married for 62 years. They met on the bus that took them to high school together. And they both loved Jesus.
As I walk through such times with beloved members of our flock (which I am learning is one of my hardest, sweetest and deepest privileges), I have realized this truth: Such roads are marked by a remarkable closeness to heaven.
Things that seem so important in the regular duties of life seem far less so. There is a clarifying effect to the grief and joy of standing close to ones who were so intimately united with those who have just entered the presence of Jesus.
I desire this instruction of God’s providence to linger. I long to long for heaven, and the effects of such longings in my life. How different might all of us live this life and advance the Kingdom of the beloved Son if we were more homesick for heaven, which in turn would cause us to ponder the shortness of the journey?
D.A. Carson touches on this in a video clip I recently watched. He argues that “most Christians in the western world have an under-realized eschatology” which results in an “inadequate anticipation of the glories still to come.” Also: “This is not a generation by and large that is really homesick for heaven.”
He tells (with tears in his eyes and a cracking voice) of the reality of Soweto pastors who take an average 7 funerals a weekend due to the ravages of AIDS. He says, not as a rebuke:
I’ll tell you this – they are homesick for heaven….Where are the generations who are coming along who will say, “Yes, even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!
May none of us spurn the path of loss, for it takes us closer to the best longings.
Watch the Carson video. (5 minutes)