As I drove my brother and his wife and daughter to the airport yesterday it was hard to say goodbye. My daughter Chloe came with me, and there was definitely a sense of loss as all the family we had in town for the weekend left around 4:30pm yesterday for their own homes and the routines of their lives.
As we drove back home from the airport I found myself very thoughtful, and grateful for a wonderful weekend. But I realized that it’s a cruel fate of this life that family should live so far away. We move away for work, or seeking a dream, or any number of reasons – many are highly necessary in order to live productively in this world.
When I think in my mind about scenarios that would allow me to live in the same 60-100 mile radius as my family (my brother is in Denver, my sister in Cleveland, my parents in Toledo, my grandparents in Portland) I can find none.
My family loves where they live – and I love where I live. We all have lives that are built geographically around our homes. We have different churches, different grocery stores, our friends are here, and those little dives that we dine at on Friday nights.
So there’s really no solution…in this life.
Driving home last night my eyes wandered onto an old Toyota – an MR2 – which was running parallel with us on 270 West. Admiringly I stared at the perfectly refurbished 1980’s classic, and I thought about how much time and effort it would have taken to have that car in such immaculate shape.
My mind then wandered to our Creator, and how He’s working in each one of His children to remake them after His own image (2 Cor. 3:18 was a topic of discussion at a family dinner on Saturday night).
The Bible promises that when Christ comes back He will renew the earth and the heavens (Rev. 21:1) – just like this man renewed this old Toyota.
That’s when it hit me – in the next life, when all is renewed and set right I will have family and fellow believers to fellowship with for eternity. I have no idea how distance will be traversed in the next life, and that’s not what I’m speculating about. Rather, one of the feelings within my soul yesterday was that it isn’t a necessary eternal de facto state of being for family to be separated by vast distances for reasons that are so intrinsically tied to this earthly – temporary – life.
In other words, that Toyota minded me that the current state of play on the earth won’t always stand. I will have an eternity to fellowship with family and friends separated now by distance, or death, or other forces of this life which will not be associated with the next. And this is a comforting thought to dwell on the day after such a great time of fellowship ended.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)