Today marks the three year anniversary of my nephew’s death in a car wreck just a few miles from his home. On the first anniversary of this tragedy, I remarked that hearts were still heavy, the pain of loss was still real, and that the nagging feeling of “something missing” had not subsided. While all three of these sentiments are still a reality, I believe it is the third, the feeling of “something missing,” that I encounter most frequently. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, the Masters golf tournament, or the split second thought I have each summer of calling him to play golf with me, I am confronted with the fact that Hayden is gone. It is not a bad dream. It is reality, and it makes my heart (along with the hearts of my family) ache desperately for something better. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Truly, God has awakened me and my family with “his megaphone,” and the message that resounds so clearly is that “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
Joni Eareckson Tada once stated, “Can you hear the sighing in the wind? Can you feel the heavy silence in the mountains? Can you sense the restless longing in the sea? Can you see it in the woeful eyes of an animal? Something’s coming… something better.” I can, yet it is not just in the sighing wind, the silent mountains, and restless sea that I sense that something better is coming. It is also in the aching of my heart for the new heavens and the new earth in which God in Christ will wipe away every tear from my eye and my family’s eyes as we sing
He has swallowed up the veil of death forever! Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation… You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because He trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. (Selected from Isaiah 25 & 26)
Something better is coming! Christ is coming! And when He does, the aching of our hearts will be gone, because the yearning not simply for reunion but redemption will be fulfilled forever! Yet until then, the ache remains in order to teach us that we are not home and that Christ is still at work redeeming the brokenness.