Rays of soft sunlight streamed through the curtain onto the hospital bed. I stepped to the edge of the bed, taking a moment to soak in his face before gently holding his hand. Eighty-nine years is a rich, full life, and each passing day revealed more convincingly it was time for him to go. Grief and relief shared the space in my heart as I carried the weight of understanding each visit held the opportunity to be my last.
When he felt my hand, his eyes opened, and he gifted me a smile. Pop Pop always had a smile for me—the kind of smile that showed I was important without him saying a word. He attempted to speak, but his frail, labored voice struggled, rendering him voiceless with tears rolling down his cheeks.
My eyes couldn’t help but join his tears as my heart struggled to find the right words for the moment.
“We are going to be okay, Pop Pop. We are all so proud of you,” I reassured him through my tears. “I’m thankful we know we will see you again in Heaven one day. This is just goodbye for now, not goodbye forever.”
In a moment of strength, Pop Pop’s voice echoed mine loud and clear, “For now, but not forever.”
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Until forever comes, I carry with me a hole in my heart that Pop Pop used to fill with his smile and laughter. It’s temporarily filled with 42 years of love and memories, but love and memories don’t adequately replace the physical presence of someone we love. Rather, they are a temporary solution to an eternal problem only God can resolve.
What have you lost in this world? Loss permeates the brokenness of our days on earth, leaving us wondering how to move forward in our lack. Navigating the loss of relationships, dreams, health, finances, and people wears us thin. These losses leave us with hearts like Swiss cheese, riddled with holes once filled with hopes, dreams, and cherished things.
For now, but not forever.
If you’re like me, you’ve tried to fill the holes with the good things this world offers—a home full of lovely things, friendships full of fun and laughter, success and accolades, or financial security. The list of options the world offers to fill our wounded hearts is lengthy. I’ve found that plugging the holes in my heart with the world’s choices is a lot like plugging the holes of a bucket with cotton balls. Eventually, the holes reappear as the things of this world reveal their shortcomings.
Where worldly things fall short, God’s unfailing character mends the holes in my heart for good. Love, mercy, grace, kindness, hope, and joy—His fullness is my wholeness. Over and over, as the brokenness of life tears away pieces of my heart, God mends it. His Holy Spirit teaches my heart to simultaneously hold the blessings of this life while navigating the disappointments.
For now, but not forever.
With God in our story, our brokenness is temporary. Revelation 21:4 fills me with peace as I lean on God’s promise of eternal perfection, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (ESV).
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My heart longs for the day when God’s promise of eternity restores my heart forever. Can you imagine living free from mourning, crying, and pain? Let the reality of perfection in Heaven sink deep into your soul and bring you hope as you walk through your days in this broken world. God sees your tears and affirms they are not forever. He feels your pain and promises it will be no more.
For now, the heartache of this world is our reality, but God has not left us alone. As we tether ourselves to His love, He mends our broken hearts, giving us the strength to walk our days on earth.
Until we see Heaven and our broken hearts are finally made whole—forever.