I’ve always loved being a mom. As a little girl I bonded with dolls and wished they’d come to life. As a 10 year old I named 8 children I hoped to have, and when I became a mother, despite the work load, it was my dream come true.
One day a girlfriend came over with her young children, and as our little ones played, we sipped coffee and chatted about how best to teach children about Jesus. Suddenly she said, “I’d be happy if Jesus came back to get all of us today.”
I said, “Oh, I hope not! Life is too good right now!”
Today, from my vantage point as a 60-something, I look back at my 20-something self and say, “How dumb can you be?”
Earthly life can’t possibly measure up to to heavenly life, and knowing the invisible Jesus can’t compare to relating face to face. It takes a leap of faith to accept these truths, since we have no frame of reference for what we read in Scripture about heaven. But I’ve bought into biblical truth 100%, leaning on it day-to-day, especially now in widowhood.
After Nate died, my longing for heaven shifted from, “It’ll be wonderful,” to “I can’t wait!” Though that change doesn’t directly mention a longing for Jesus, the truth is that Nate’s exit to heaven served to fasten my attention not only on his new home but also on the new and improved relationship he’s enjoying with Jesus. And in thinking more about that, my heart’s desire to meet Jesus has grown by leaps and bounds.
Even so, I’m challenged by the Bible’s statement, “You should eagerly watch for his return.” Surrounded by earthly matters, I’m not always “looking up” like I’m supposed to be. Am I anticipating Jesus’ coming as enthusiastically as I would look forward to a vacation or Christmas or even a friend’s arrival?
One of the lamps at my house has an interesting finial. It’s a tiny cat in a sitting position, purchased many years ago to represent the 5 cats our family has owned. The other day while cleaning, I noticed the cat was facing the window and the woods beyond, almost like she was watching for something. Though she isn’t real, I chuckled and thought, “Maybe she’s looking for the predicted snowstorm the rest of us are eagerly anticipating tonight.” I saw that little cat and couldn’t help but think how my gaze toward Jesus ought to be just that steady.
We have hundreds of things to think about each day that serve to push out thoughts of Jesus, but not to think of his coming at all is a mistake we’ll regret. Maybe I’ll use the cat as my reminder to “keep watching” for Jesus, at least in my heart.
As I turned away from the cat, it started to snow.
“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42)