Since Laynee was welcomed into heaven, this longing has been greater than I have ever imagined that it could be. This life, which has always been incomplete, now has a wide, gaping hole. Gazing at her pictures, as I so often do, leaves me with an indescribable desire to be in heaven with her. Perhaps Grant said it best the night after her visitation when he said, with quivering voice, "Mom, I can't wait to get to heaven!"
This desire for heaven is also felt during life's most difficult times. On the days when life seems so void without Laynee, when my missing her becomes nearly palpable, I think hard on Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain for the former things are passed away. I think on this and I long to see and experience the fulfillment of the promises of this verse. It is in these times that I whisper the prayer. "Come quickly, my Lord."
In recent weeks there have been several saints, whom I know, who have been ushered into heaven. An older woman, the grandmother of my dearest friend completed her race after many years upon this earth. Just last week the father of our friends, a man who served our Lord in ministry and leadership for many years, joined his beloved wife in heaven. When I hear of the passing of a believer I am filled with a sense of envy that I have never before experienced.
A couple of weeks ago my friend, Kathy and I were planning to walk together one morning. About an hour before our scheduled meeting, her son called me to say that Kathy would not be walking as her dear sister, Jo, after a battle with cancer, was dying. I was well aware that Jo's time was very near but this phone call made it clear that Jo was in her final moments on earth. She was drawing her last breaths. Her soul's departure from her exhausted body and entrance into heaven was mere moments away. My heart was filled with sorrow for Kathy, whom I knew would grieve the loss of her sister. At the same time, my heart and soul was filled with the greatest sense of envy and longing that I have ever known. Within moments Jo was going to see her Savior and, though I cannot pretend to know all of the mysteries of heaven, I am confident that she was also going to see my little baby girl. Jo was crossing the threshold from earth to heaven, the place where she would be able to do the things that I so long to do. She would laugh, sing and dance with my little Laynee. I envied her.
My loyalties to my husband and children are very much in place. It has not been lost on me, the importance of my purpose on this earth. I am here because my God has placed me here, because he has a plan for me. I gladly accept my duty on earth, which is to walk in his will and his grace, to be the best mother and wife that I can be. However, I do so with the knowledge that Heaven is ultimately what I was created for. I love my home here on earth, where my husband and children reside, but I am keenly aware that Heaven is my true home. Perhaps it is best described as being Homesick. It seems that my heart beats to a longing for something that I cannot see or even imagine. Paul's letter to the Phillipians resonates within me: Phillipians 1:21-24 For me to live is Christ but to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
There is comfort in knowing that this longing for something more has been present in the heart and soul of God's people throughout all of time. If we read on from that familiar passage in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen we find that many of God's faithful servants experienced this same deep inner yearning. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaac: all of them longed for something more than this land could offer. Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Our God desires that we long for heaven. To long for heaven is to long for HIM.
In II Corinthians 5, Paul describes his deep desire for heaven as a "groaning" and in Psalms 84 David tells us that his soul "faints" for the heavenly courts. This deep and passionate longing comes from knowing that whatever this life has to offer can never be enough. It is an insatiable craving that can only be filled by heaven. As I journey along this path of grief, as I see God's hand in every detail of my life, my longing is deepened by an ever growing love for my Lord.
I have little doubt that some who read this post will be confused by it's content. It is simply impossible for those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus to grasp an understanding of such a longing. Hope is what fuels this longing, hope and the knowledge that this life, filled with struggles and heartaches, is only temporary. Without that hope, there can be no longing for heaven. Even as a christian, it is beyond the scope of my ability, with tongue or pen, to fully explain how the pain of searing loss has deepened my own sense of yearning. While I am here, until I get to see my Laynee and the place I so long for, I will praise him because I know that this is just my Temporary Home.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.
II Corinthians 2:9