My view from the couch was perfect. Ahead of me were one set of big arms and one set of little arms, clapping and shaking high above the heads that belonged to each body. Legs jumped and shuffled to the music and an unbreakable smile spread across my face. Joy.
The arms and legs in question belonged to my dear husband and our sweet baby boy. Only, he’s not so much a baby now. He’s two, and those once chubby legs and arms have lengthened and grown skinnier, reminding me that time flies and everything changes.
Me? Well, my extremities are the same, but my belly is rounding out again, telling to the world around me a story of creation and life and love. In just five short months (Lord willing), another baby will emerge from my cramped and dark womb and enter a bright and big world. Obviously, this is exciting news. I can’t wait to meet our child and learn who they are. But with this joyous transition comes a lot of emotions.
Life is changing again. And I love our little life with our little family in our little house. Some days I simply can’t believe it’s real. After so much grief and barrenness, we have our son now, running through the halls of the house and giggling. Oh, what joy he ushers into our world. This world we’ve created to disciple him, protect him, and give him routines that help him thrive. It will change soon. No longer will it be just us three, but four (Okay, five because we count our dog too.) The transition is a good one, I know. I remember feeling this way before I nursed his tiny body. Elated as we were, we also knew life would never be the same–there would be things we had to leave behind when he came. But goodness, our life is so much richer now with him in it. I couldn’t see the future then and I can’t see it now. I shed tears over what we’ll leave behind because I can’t fathom the beauty that’s ahead.
Isn’t this how some of us feel about heaven? We’re excited about no longer experiencing sin, no longer walking through suffering, but what if there are things we’ll miss? Will we look back longingly at our life before eternity? My husband and I have been married for eight years and together for nine and I can’t imagine not being married to him. Early in our marriage I cried over this very fact. What’s a life not married to my best friend? Maybe it’s not marriage. Maybe it’s the dream you’d hoped to accomplish or the kids you want to have. It might be that you don’t want to miss certain milestones in your kid’s lives. The truth is, we will leave behind treasured gifts when we enter heaven, but our minds can’t begin to imagine the treasure it will be to be with Jesus. He is, after all, the true Treasure that exceeds them all.
The words, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3), hold the most joyous promise offered to us. When we enter heaven, we will walk into the presence of our Savior. And rather than casting us aside like we truly deserve, he will dwell with us forever because he has clothed us with his righteousness. The bitterness we think we might feel over what we’ve left behind will be overwhelmed by the sweetness and goodness of our God.
Change brings with it things we miss, and that’s normal. But in the new heaven and new earth, there will be nothing bitter. There will only be sweet.