Our kids have been Dr. Who fans for years. Admittedly, a lot of it is weird, and a bit of it is worthy of the FF button in our house; but often there are moments of clever script writing and the capturing of poignant human moments which help us to look deeper into ourselves.
I saw a friend post a photo of her kids on Facebook, standing in front of “Starry Night” at the New York Museum of Modern Art (yes, I’m a bit envious), and this moment came flooding back to me:
Van Gogh was a tortured soul who never realized his brilliance in his 37 short years on earth. I imagine when we get to Heaven, we will look back over everything…all the times our hearts were breaking or ached from loneliness and disappointment…all the losses we experienced…all the moments when we could do nothing else but look up in bewilderment and our faith felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”, we will feel a little like this.
I imagine still utterly disbelieving, yet hearing the words, “Well done” when all I can remember are all the times I failed, faltered, and fell. I confess for many years, I was fully convinced I never would. Being a perfectionist can do that to a person. More importantly, not being a student of God’s Word can do this as well. I’ve been saved nearly 40 years now, and I feel I’m just now getting to glimpse the heart of God for His children. How realistic His expectations are, how hopeful He is that we will lean hard and press on, how He rejoices in our seeming baby steps.
In Heaven, when we have that perfect hindsight, we will realize that El Roi (“the God who sees”) looks beyond all of the “stuff” and sees the heart that tried, always wanted to do so much more, demonstrate a deeper trust, live with greater abandon for His purposes. The Bible says He knows we are made of dust. That is not to say He overlooks our deliberate negligence. Not at all. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 voiced His desire that we might “be one” with Him, and that can’t happen when we live in chosen rebellion or isolation. But I do believe God’s understanding of our “dustiness” means He comprehends the human struggle against sin and self and sees each event when we choose Him as a work greater than the creation of the universe. The times when we govern our own will and desire and make effort to align it with His…they are so much more than we may realize. And truly, it isn’t until we are gone from this life that we can accurately assess ourselves. Much of what we thought was “gold, silver and precious stones” we’ll find to be “wood, hay and stubble”. Some of the most precious and valuable moments will be ones we’ve all but forgotten…because we forgot ourselves in them.
This scene above is from a TV series, which is complete fiction. It can make me sob. Heaven is reality. I imagine there will be abundant tears of gratitude…for so much grace, so much kindness, so much tenderness and mercy, so much pity and compassion. I will feel the full weight of my indebtedness, that Jesus has accepted me in the beloved, and so much wonderment that I could have been allowed and empowered to serve Him here. I’ll finally have the fully contented heart I always craved…that there was something I may have done that made a difference for His purposes.
When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty, not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee, with unsinning heart–
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not ’til then, how much I owe.
~Robert Murray M’Cheyne