Heaven is Near
“They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts”
—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 421.
When I was in my early 20s, I worked as an au pair in southern Germany. I was quite accustomed to being far from home, as I had already spent approximately two years in Austria. But a few months after moving to Germany, I experienced extreme homesickness for the first time. Only after a few days was I able to articulate what had otherwise never crossed my mind throughout my travels. I wanted to go home. Immediately.
I made plans to return home to spend Christmas with my mother. Once the plane ticket was purchased, I breathed a sigh of relief. It would only be a matter of weeks before I’d fall into my mom’s warm embrace.
The long-anticipated day came, and I found myself weaving intently through the corridors of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. But when I arrived at the exit and scanned the faces, my mother was nowhere in sight. Confused and terribly disappointed, I waited and waited and waited—I was almost home. I was already on familiar soil, but until I saw my mom’s face, I wasn’t home yet.
I was eventually able to place a call to her cell phone. She was at the airport. My close friend, who was flying overseas that same day, had requested to ride with my mom to the airport, and she was the reason behind my mom’s late arrival! It seemed to me I couldn’t wait a moment longer. Tears were forming puddles and streaming down my cheeks as my mother walked through the airport doors.
Imagine the passion in Moses’ plea as he spoke with the Lord about entering the Promised Land: “I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon” (Deuteronomy 3:25, NKJV). But God had made up His mind, and there was nothing further to discuss. Moses, who had spent decades leading God’s children through the wilderness, would not be privy to enter the land flowing with milk and honey, because he had lost his patience over the cantankerous crowd. He had labored so long with God’s people to only almost make it home.
The Lord in His mercy ultimately granted Moses’ desire to see the beauty of Canaan centuries later. Nonetheless, it serves as a sobering reminder of two opposing realities to being almost home. The first testifies of humanity’s inability to achieve God’s standard without God’s help. Oh, we may look good sometimes, but the truth is, we’re just not good enough. There is simply no such thing as being almost righteous.
The second reality, however, is wonderfully encouraging. Our heavenly home is not so much about a place as it is about a Person. When Christ our Righteousness fights for us, as He did over the body of Moses (Jude 9), He cannot lose. As we pour out our lives in love and service to God and our neighbors, that saving relationship sustains us until we finally reach the Promised Land. “To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend…In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected…They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 420).
With Christ in our lives, heaven is very near. Let us not be the kind of friends that keep Jesus just outside of reach. Rather, may our testimony bring heaven and the One who makes it home nearer to everyone we meet.