“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2
I had a dream the other night in which the world was overrun with evil, and we were constantly running for our lives. We hid and ran, trying to get away. My son and husband were with me, along with some other people. We finally discovered a portal that would take us to another world where we would be safe and where the evil could not find us. My son and husband got to go first, but I got stuck for a time back in this world. A couple of other women and I had to continue fighting and running for a little bit until we could get to the portal again. I remember running and turning a corner, and as I flew through the air into the portal, it felt like my molecules were dissolving into bubbles. It was a feeling of peace as I knew I was leaving to go to the other world. My thoughts echoed in my head, “My boy!” as I was going to see my son again soon. I woke up and knew I was dreaming about heaven. I thought of so many waiting for us on the other side of this portal to heaven we call death. They are just waiting behind the curtain, so close and yet unreachable at this point. I am no eschatology scholar, and I don’t think my dream was a prophecy about what is to come. What I do know is that I was so wrapped in peace as I was ushered into heaven that I have nothing to fear in death. I get to see all those who have gone before me and are sitting in the presence of Jesus for all eternity.
Those of us left here have the hard part. We grieve and mourn the loss of the person, while knowing they are safe with Jesus. It seems counterintuitive to grieve while having peace, but I do think it’s possible in Christ. We have emotions that run counter to each other all the time, and we can lead our emotions with truth. We hold fast to the truth that Jesus is holding those who have gone before while allowing our hearts to grieve the loss on earth.
While at funeral for a baby recently, the girl’s mom talked about a dream she had in which those who are with Jesus already were cheering all of the rest of us on in our race, seeing the finish line just ahead of where we were. Those of us still running can’t always see the finish line, as we don’t have the view from above. It is such an encouragement to me to think of those who have gone before cheering for us as we push through. I have recently started running again following the birth of my baby four months ago. When I say running, I use the term very loosely, as it is more of a drag-myself-along-the-sidewalk-while-drool-comes-out-of-my-mouth kind of thing. People look scared as they drive by me. There are many days I want to quit and just forget the whole thing. But I persevere—not because of the present, but because of my goal. I know my goal will be worth it. I love feeling strong and healthy, and running is part of that for me right now. Our race as believers might look very dark at the moment, and we may just want to throw up our hands and quit. There are those in grief, those who have been betrayed, those who are just barely hanging on. Each of us has days where we want to throw in the towel. In Christ, though, I can continue to run the race set before me—not because of any strength of my own, but because His strength flows through me. And I have a cheering section that grows by the day. I know Mike stands and cheers many of us on, along with so many others who are dear to our hearts. I am thankful that when the battle gets hard, I can think about Danae’s words that day at the funeral and remember that the goal may be hard to see, but it is there. As I keep my eyes on Jesus, my feet will continue to run towards Him. And one day I will get to feel my ties with this world dissolve like bubbles and go to be with those who have gone before, and above all, be wrapped in the peace of knowing Jesus.