Thankful for My Homeland (aka Heaven)

As Thanksgiving approaches, I wanted to reflect on something for which I am exceedingly grateful—my homeland (a.k.a Heaven)!! Rarely a day passes now that I don’t think to myself, “I can’t wait for heaven!” This was not always the case.  I was excited about the promise of heaven and being with Jesus for eternity, but I was also excited about what the world had to offer.  I wanted to go to college, to get married, to have kids, to own a coffee shop, to see the world, and to live to be 100. I used to say, “Jesus, I’m excited to be with you, but can you wait until after I’ve done xyz?” My “xyz’s” were all great things, and I’m thankful to have tasted a few of them (still waiting on the coffee shop, seeing the world, and that 100-year birthday celebration =-).  But, the longer I live the more I realize that the things of this earth only bring temporal pleasure. Our life and our experiences here last but a moment. And, suffering, sadness, and death are inevitably woven throughout.  Thus, while I can enjoy this world, I’m losing my taste for its treasures. Rather, I long for something far greater.   I long for the lasting treasures and eternal pleasures that are in store for me in the presence of Jesus, “where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

This longing grows daily—whenever I’m rushed for time in talking with a friend, experience the pains of sickness in myself or in others, mourn the loss of a loved one, witness the debilitating effects of addiction or mental health struggles, see bodies break down, see destruction by natural disasters, feel disillusioned by our leaders and government, or recognize the deep rooted sense that I’m not yet where I’m supposed to be.  These things make my soul yearn for that better country, ruled by the best King--that place I was made for, where “everything sad comes untrue.’  Though I have not yet seen it with my own eyes, my Savior has prepared a place for me there (John 14:3), and my just and merciful God reigns over it.  His kingship and his country are far greater than I could imagine.  For, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).”  As the author C.S. Lewis puts it, “Even the common orange could not be imagined until it was tasted. How much more heaven!” 

Though I won’t be able to really know the depths of heaven’s greatness or the glory of my King until I stand in His presence, it fills my heart with joy to think on it.  Imagine a place that holds everything on this earth that is beautiful to you...loving relationships, scenic views, meaningful work, healthy bodies, grand adventures, delicious food, toe-tapping music, vast knowledge, inspiring art, contagious laughter, deep peace, sweet rest, complete security, perfect justice, noble leadership, and true freedom to be all God created you to be.  Now, take all those beautiful things and remove the things that pervert them--pride, hatred, jealousy, misunderstanding, natural disaster, sickness, decay, brokenness, time, and death.  What you get is a taste of the homeland God promises to those who love Him and a glimpse of the perfect King He will be for His people.  It is a place and a person that are in every sense of the word BETTER! In fact, it’s better than better. It’s the BEST, because there I will stand face to face with my God.  He will dwell with me and I with Him, and He will be my perfect King (Revelation 21:3).  The barriers this world creates between me and God will be gone forever. I will see Him and know Him.  In my homeland, I will, for the first time, see myself and others through God’s eyes—experiencing His breathtaking beauty in everything and everyone around me FOREVER!  Thus, this Thanksgiving, I sing out with praise and thankfulness for my homeland of heaven and for the person of Jesus, who paid the price for my unworthy self to not only go there and experience all its pleasures for eternity but to go there to enjoy it all with Him!  I pray you also would seek this homeland and this King, and that God would encourage your hearts with the fact that this promise and this place await anyone who calls upon the name of Jesus and truly desires to enter! “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)  Thank you, Jesus!  

By Katie Miller

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