A few nights ago, it wasn’t quite bedtime and the boys were going stir-crazy (when Sawyer starts running in frenetic circles, something has to change). Ryan grabbed a football and soccer ball, and we headed out into the front yard.
It was just one of those moments. The boys were giggling as they kicked the balls and tackled Daddy. Ryan was laughing at me as I unsuccessfully attempted a good football toss with a perfect spin (I’m sure I was struggling because of my pregnant belly—it throws off my balance!). The air was heavy with an incoming lighting storm and the sky all around us was an unearthly fire red. Wet gusts of wind played with our clothes and relieved the heat. I didn’t want it to end.
Of course it did, and rather quickly, when bedtime really did come and our boys melted into tired puddles of tears. But it was those fifteen minutes that gave me a deep glimpse of contentment, perfection and a sense of home.
As Christians, we are often reminded that this is not our home. Tragedy, ugliness, pain and separation stand in stark contrast to our longing for safety, comfort and joy. Jesus even warned us that “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16:33). Our consolation is supposed to be, and often is, that we WILL get to Heaven.
But my life has shown me that God has not left us hanging in a waiting room of misery outside the doors of Heaven. He gives us these beautiful moments under breath-taking red skies to show us the rest of John 16:33: “But take heart! I have overcome the world!” In the concluding book of the Chronicles of Narnia, the last remaining Narnians find themselves in Heaven after Narnia has been completely destroyed. Jewel the unicorn exclaims triumphantly, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this” (The Last Battle 213).
So I want to love the journey God has given me through this damaged, troubled world. I do long for my real home at the end of this life, but I hope to seek and recognize the moments that I love here as times when God is letting me witness something a little like Heaven—in my relationships, in nature and in imperfect football tosses.