Today it’s hard and it hurts and I don’t want to take heart. Today village life has gotten the better of me and I don’t know if I have what it takes to make it.
Maybe Elijah and Jonah were just longing for Heaven when they thought it’d be better if they’d hurry up and die? Maybe they were just tired of the troubles of this world.
I sit down on my bed, the mattress on the limbu floor, mosquito net pinned up to the low roof. I grab my pile of letters, the ones my dear friends sent with me as I left for this jungle journey- the words of life penned on my behalf.
I pick up the envelope titled “When Your Heart Longs for Heaven.” I open the letter and out fall several small pages. I see the picture of the armored mouse and immediately I know exactly what these pages are from.
My friend, this kindred spirit who, I’m sure, bought a copy of this book just to tear this chapter out of it.
I begin to read the words of the final chapter of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. The chapter when they realize that it’s all over, and yet all beginning at the same time. The characters have all realized that they died and are now in Aslan’s country forever.
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”
Yes,this. My real country is a place I’ve yet to step foot in. So when I feel like I’m failing and I don’t fit in this new culture, the truth is that I never fit in in my home culture either- and I’m not meant to. Because I don’t belong here. He set eternity in the human heart and purposed that we should long for it all our days on the earth. And He is making all things beautiful at just the right time.
But I know too that Heaven is more than a destination- it’s the Presence forever. Unending communion with God. It reminds me of Lucy’s words at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when she’s told she won’t be coming back to Narnia. Between sobs she says:
“It’s not Narnia, you know, it’s you.”
It’s Him; it’s the Lion. The psalmist said it best- as the deer pants for streams of water, so humanity longs for Him. Creation waits and groans for His returning, for Him to come and makes things right. He will come and reconcile us with Himself and we will never have to be parted from Him again.
So today I can take heart after all because I was meant for something more than this world. And when I long for Heaven I know in my heart that I’m longing for Him, to go with Him further up and further in.
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”