We were reading in the last chapter of Revelation last night, and as I thought about heaven, I suddenly realized something. They're there. James, Orpha, Esther, Rhoda. . . they're all actually there.
And something about it just seemed unreal and unbelievable to me. I knew them here, in this world, in this life. And to think of them now living in a place I've only dreamed of. . . there is something about it that makes me ache to go home as well.
I wonder what it's like there. I wonder what it's like to see the face of Jesus, what it's like to know Him as a friend Whom you can touch and talk to. Who talks back in ways He didn't while you were here.
And as I think of them with Him, I wonder what they say to Him. I like to think that Esther has told Him how sweetly Marvin cared for her. I like to think of Orpha telling Him stories of when the grandchildren lived at her house during the summer. I like to imagine Jesus and James laughing together over James' unique sense of humor. And perhaps Rhoda is weeping tears of joy as Jesus tells her just what an impact her scrapbook pages had on the lives of those she sent them to.
Perhaps there is no talk of this world in that one, but I like to think there is. And either way, it is the same Jesus here as there, and His love is not heightened or lessened in either place.
Imagining them there, and in all reality being unable to imagine it, sets an ache both of sorrow and of joy in my heart. And for this moment, I grieve with their families, though I hardly know how. I grieve, but I also rejoice.
So if you are one of the ones left with a sudden hole in your life, know that you are not forgotten by the rest of us. We might not know what to say or do, but we know how to bring your burden to the Father along with our own, and we do.
He hears. And as He rejoices with those He has taken home, His heart still longs to gather us all, His voice is still calling, His Spirit is still saying, Come.
And one day if we are faithful to Him, we, too, will walk and talk with Jesus, and we, too, will lift praise before the throne to the Lamb that was slain.
God writes beautiful stories in the lives of those who are surrendered to Him, and the final ending is most beautiful of all.