Maybe it was an article on the news. Maybe you know someone who has walked through something hard or hurtful. Maybe you found yourself in the shower on a Monday morning just feeling pretty crummy about the world.

(Maybe I did, too.)

I walked into church on Sunday morning and was greeted with tremendously heartbreaking news — a very kind, friendly, compassionate, beautiful person, mother to a sweet and intelligent high schooler, daughter, sister, wife, and friend to many, passed away incredibly unexpectedly. 

In the days since, I’ve been praying for her family, specifically with my mind swirling, my heart heavy, over this 17 year old kid who lost his Dad a few years ago, and his Mom this week.

There are days where the sun shines just right and the clouds are heavenly and the grass is the perfect shade of green, and then there are days when life just doesn’t feel like that at all.

Sometimes, life really, really hurts.

Last year, we faced a trial we didn’t see coming. I spent weeks upon weeks thinking about Piecing Together Who’s Behind the Curtain When Affliction is On the Stage. I asked God questions about what He wants, and what He allows, and I tried to understand a little bit about the difference. Sin broke the world God created for us, and it broke God’s heart — but He has a plan and He has broken Himself to bring about our rescue.

As I pray for this family during this upheaval, this huge and unexpected loss, I begin wrestling again. Because I know God is redeeming and this world is passing away but being renewed and change is coming — still sometimes it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t be better if every day could be a day where the sun shines just right and the clouds are heavenly and the grass is the perfect shade of green.

We all know the truth — in this world those perfect moments are fleeting. There is pain here. There are hard places here. We can quit watching the news but we will still feel it.

What does it mean to long for something wonderful — but impossible? To wish for a perfect world where no one loses their Mama and every child goes to bed in a safe home with a fully belly? What does it mean if what we wish for just can’t happen in this broken world?

C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”

The answer to our hearts’ deepest longings is that new and wonderful world — where no child will lose their Mama and no tummies will know hunger, where the sun shines just right and the clouds are heavenly and the grass is a million perfect shades of green.

A funny thing has happened since our eight-year-old’s extended stay in the hospital. Just in passing, in general conversation, he’ll talk about heaven. He isn’t discussing it as if he’s been there in an experience like Colton Burpo — it just seems like it’s closer to his thoughts than it has ever been before. 

He walked into my bathroom the other day and commented, “The leopard and the lamb will be together in heaven. And, like, the snake and the mouse will hang out.” 

I hope he keeps reminding me this thing my heart needs reminding: we were not made for this world, and there’s a better world coming.

Jesus came to undo all the hurt and the bad and the sad in our world, and to prepare our hearts for the better world — to let us know we aren’t ridiculous to hold onto hope that this ISN’T it. That the best IS yet to come.

And one of these heavy mornings, God just whispered this simple word of hope to my soul, from King David’s heart thousands of years ago:

“Your hand will find out all your enemies. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath.” {Ps. 21}

Anything and everything that is not expressly ordained by the sovereign goodness of God will cease to exist in that better country that we look toward.

And the most looming and devastating of those enemies will be no more — death itself. Death will no longer sting. The grave will no longer have victory. 

That is a hope for the world that is to come — and it is a Truth we cling to right here, and right now. The precious daughter, mother, wife and friend the world is saying goodbye to does not feel the sting of death. The grave gets no victory. She is in that better country which we look toward. The years we face until that reunion are the blink of an eye in light of eternity.

Friends, don’t be discouraged if the longings of your heart seem to point to places that nothing in this world can fill. Just live this temporary life to the fullest, to the glory of God, with the time that you have. The hurts will heal. The hard will not always be true. So let your heart smile on the inside like you’ve got a secret your enemy can’t touch: your destiny is out of this world.



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Update on Blake

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Blake! He is now just in therapy one day a week and it is really hard to believe three months ago he was learning how to walk again! He went to P.E. this week with homeschool friends and it was amazing to see him running around with the other kids — you just wouldn’t know he’d been through anything at all. His hair has grown to the point that only the tiniest bit of a spot can be seen where his once very big and very serious pressure wounds were. And he continues to want to give kisses, and tell us we’re the best parents ever, and love everyone wholeheartedly. He also loves to make his baby sister squeal and scream on occasion — which certainly makes life feel normal again.

We would be so grateful to ask you to continue to pray for the complete healing of Blake’s vision — for 20/20 in 2020 for our sweet boy. He is successfully adapting, and remembering to turn his head to see a full field of vision, but still often getting startled and having trouble finding or noticing anything to the left without very intentional movement. He has come so far and we continue to feel SO grateful. We continue to Raise a Hallelujah to the God who has brought us through! Thank you SO much for your prayers.

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