The hot sun beat down around us, so we sat under a tree in a remote village within the mountains of Jamaica. Four little boys leaned against a house made of shipping pallets and sheet metal as we talked. I asked if they were Christians. A look of shame fell upon them as they looked to the ground and nodded their head no. I looked into their brown eyes, and my heart ached. I ached at the thought of them never knowing the love of Jesus. I ached at the thought of them never finding the grace and forgiveness of the Savior. I ached at the thought of them never hearing the words it is finished spoken over them. I ached at the thought of not seeing them again in heaven. I asked if they wanted to be Christians: They each unanimously nodded their heads yes. I told them the story of a Savior—a story scarred by sin but sealed with hope. I told them of what sin had cost but what Love was willing to pay. I told them of how a tomb tried to conceal Him, but death couldn’t contain His love for us. I told them that they were now invited to be children of God—family. I asked if they wanted to be family; they each nodded with grins across their faces. On a normal Thursday afternoon, they asked Jesus to be the Savior and Lord of their lives. And in an instant, heaven was rejoicing because what once was lost was now found. They weren’t the only ones that found something that day.
As we walked back up the mountain, we talked about heaven. We knew our goodbyes were coming, and so I made them a promise: Even if I didn’t see them here on earth ever again, I would see them at the throne of Jesus. We began to dream of how good heaven will be one day. We imagined a place of no more hunger and no more thirst. We imagined a place of no more goodbyes and no more not enoughs. We imagined a place of no more sadness and no more tears. One of the boys then looked up and asked if there will be death in heaven. I looked into his big, brown eyes and smiled softly: “No, buddy, thankfully there will be no death ever again in heaven.” He smiled too, and we continued walking.
We reached the top of the mountain which meant that it was time to say goodbye. I prayed over them and told them to keep chasing Jesus together. I kneeled down and hugged each one goodbye. My heart broke. As they walked away, they waved over and over until they were too far in the distance to be seen. I caught a glimpse of heaven that day.
Maybe, like me, you have lost your focus on what truly matters in this world. I got caught up in filling my schedule and tending to my own needs that I lost focus on the finish line. My heart has been beaten and battered that I lost track of where I was going. Heaven is the finish line, and Jesus is the prize. If we are ever going to finish this race, we must lock our eyes on Him. We must run with all of the strength we have left. May we run our race with perseverance. Onward. That’s where we are headed. Onward. Towards the finish line we will go. Onward. Towards the gates of heaven we will hasten. Onward. Towards Jesus we will run because He is worth it. Onward, we go.
My heart is still broken from saying goodbye, and I think it will stay broken until I reach heaven’s gates. It’s there that I will behold the face of the Savior, radiant with righteousness. And it’s there that I will be reunited with my boys, my brothers, and we will be able to say that He was worth it: worth all of the pain, worth all of the tears, worth all of the heartache, worth all of the questions, worth all of the loss, worth all of it. It’s there that we will declare with knees bowed and hands lifted high together that He is worth it. But until that day, our eyes are locked on heaven, and we long for the day that we will meet again at the throne of Jesus. We long for that day.