We have told him many times that Jesus is with him, always, even when he is scared and alone in the dark. He will respond, "But where is him? I want to SEE him. I want to hug him. I miss Jesus! I want to see Jesus now!" A statement like that makes my mother's heart skip a little beat, and I say, "You will see him with your eyes when you die, but Mommy doesn't want you to die for a long, long time. Until then, you just have to believe he is here." "That's faith Mommy?" "Yes baby, that's faith."
I am full of praise that he wants to see Jesus. It has been my heart's greatest prayer since before he was born that his eyes would constantly be seeking the Lord. But it astounds me that, even though Shepherd has only been on this earth for four years, he is already homesick for heaven. When it is dark and scary, he desperately wants to be with Jesus, to see him, and to feel his embrace.
I have a dear friend of a dear friend named Stephanie. Stephanie, a mom of young twins, began having blinding headaches which were the first signs of the tumor growing in her forehead. She has been fighting brain cancer for about two years now.
I first met her at a baby shower we co-hosted for our friend Carol. There is something so amazing about meeting a person you have been praying for, and as she said, "It is so wonderful to meet the Body of Christ that has prayed for me!" And, of course, we got teary.
Later we had a chance to talk, and we discussed how she was living her life now, having been through cancer which at the time, appeared to be cured. She compared it to the post-partum experience. After your first child is born, you are overwhelmingly happy - yet, utterly discombobulated by the fact that this one life event has changed absolutely everything. She said that summed up her life after cancer.
Then Stephanie said what I think is the most amazing thing a person has ever said to me, and probably ever will. I will try to quote her as well as I can remember:
"I am dealing with another set of emotions as well. I don't want to die - I don't want to leave my husband or my kids at all, I love them so much. But I was just so sure that I was going to see Jesus, that I got so excited about seeing him face to face....and the fact that Heaven has been postponed, well, I've actually been a little bit depressed over that."
She's crazy, huh? Oh, to have such crazy faith.
I know those words have changed my life. I'm not sure quite how, but I know they have.
What seems like eons ago, Carol had her heart broken and we girlfriends convened with pints of love and Ben & Jerry's. Carol would compose herself for a few minutes, and then the pain would overtake her again and the tears would roll. At one point she cried, "I just want Jesus to come!"
I had never really heard anyone say that and at the time I thought, that's just the Christian girl's way of saying 'I wish I were dead.' Now I know better. I know that is the Christian's cry of pain. When we are alone in the dark, when we are scared, when we hurt, we want Jesus to come. We need to hold him, to see him, and most of all we need him to make things right. Because they are so, so messed up down here.
Someday he will. Revelation 21 foretells that in the end, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He will physically be with us then - we will see him, we will hold him, he will hold us.
John MacArthur says:
He shall wipe away, every single tear. What it means is there never will be a tear in heaven, not one single tear. There will be nothing sad. There will be nothing disappointing. There will be nothing unfulfilling. There will be nothing lacking. There will be nothing wrong. There will be nothing limiting. There will be nothing to cry about.
Tears of misfortune, tears of poverty, tears of loneliness, tears over lost love, tears of sympathy, mercy, pity, tears of persecuted innocence, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears of penitence, tears of neglect, tears of yearning for what cannot be are all gone forever. Bliss, joy and nothing but for eternity. Tears, you see, are part of, what he says at the end of verse 4, the first things that have passed away. They don't exist.
I am homesick for a place where there is nothing to cry about.
Oh, come quickly, Lord Jesus, come.