The ridge of mountains from my window looks like an indigo piece of construction paper, cut with jagged peaks and valleys, and glued to a light blue sheet of construction paper. Right now the way the sun is hitting the panorama, the ridge looks flat, surreal.
I imagine myself as light as a matchstick and walking along the jagged paper ridge with ease, conquering the mountains with a few steps. These are fairytale thoughts about a place that seems unreal from a distance.
When I was very young–before I ever really made a trip to the mountains–my grandma told me we would take a trip and go fishing in the mountains someday. I pictured sitting on the edge of those construction paper, indigo peaks and valleys that I saw from my home, with my legs dangling over the paper-thin edge, and my fishing line plummeted in a deep lake at the foot of the mountains.
Those were the inexperienced and surreal thoughts of a child who hadn’t seen the mountains up close, heard the ancient cries of history with in its rocks, tasted the earthiness of fresh, mountain air, felt the joy of ascension, or exalted in the majesty of the view or the forest and wildlife that lives on the crags.
Seeing the mountains from afar is vastly different than experiencing them.
I love the poetic words of the Bible, “We see through a glass darkly.”
That is how I feel today. I am longing for heaven, and I can only see it darkly. It is my eternal destiny. All this preoccupation about calling and giftings and how to be useful on earth is small potatoes–it’s rhinestones compared to diamonds.
Heaven is my home. Right now it looks flat and surreal like the indigo, construction-paper mountain ridge in front of me, but it is real, more real than the earth I can touch and feel. It’s reality is broader, higher, and deeper than I can imagine for it is the home of the One I love. He has romanced and won me by His magnitude and selflessness and tenderness.
He loved me when I refused Him.
How often I forget the beautiful passage in I Thessalonians 4:16-18:
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the still living who remain, shall simultaneously be caught up along with the resurrected dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always, through the eternity of the eternities, we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” (AB)
And I had completely forgotten the last part of the Scripture, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”
Wayne uses this beautiful true story in a sermon illustration sometimes:
An elderly missionary couple was returning home to the states from a lifetime of service in Africa. They happened to be on the same ship as President Theodore Roosevelt, who was returning from a safari. During the long journey much ado was made over the celebrity while they remained unseen in the poor quarters of the ship. When at last, they approached the harbor in New York, water guns shot across the bow, a band played, and crowds cheered, “Welcome home! Welcome home!” as the president returned from his triumphal excursion.
As Teddy Roosevelt marched off the boat with trophies in hand, dignitaries and the press flocked around him.
After the pomp and circumstance, the couple quietly disembarked and went their way. No one greeted or met them. They searched for a humble room that they could afford.
Later that night, the husband fought fears, anger, and bitterness. He prayed, “Lord, we served you all these years, and no one welcomed us home or honored us for our years of service.”
With tearful eyes and a heavy heart, the Lord broke through the silence with a whisper,
“Son, don’t you know, you are not home yet?”
That’s how I feel today. I am not home yet.
The warmth, fullness and capacity of home is hidden somewhere beyond those indigo peaks.