I just finished reading Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home. It was a phenomenal, inspiring, and convicting story that I recommend to all of you. Yet beyond what I learned about the persecuted church, true faith, and real treasure, one of the things from this book that will stick with me the longest is the picture on the inside of the front cover. Looking at this picture (entitled Safely Home by Ron DiCianni) brings out my deepest longings and greatest hopes. I get tears in my eyes just by looking at it, and this post is meant to explain why.
When I used to think of Jesus, I thought of the cross, the miracles, the teachings. The man that I pictured was somewhat influenced by the movies I saw of Him when I was little: tall, stoic, serious, and focused. I saw Him teaching huge crowds of people, trying to get them to understand what He was trying to say. I saw Him as the Good Shepherd, shaking his head at the flock of scattered, lost sheep. I saw Him die for the sins of the world. And though all this is true, the Jesus I pictured was somewhat… impersonal, looking at the world as a whole, and loving us as a whole. Obviously there were exceptions, but for a long time I read “God so loved the world,” without also reading “God so loved me.” And though I knew that Jesus did indeed love me personally, it never really sunk in.
And when I pictured Heaven, I pictured myself walking before the throne, treasures in hand, and laying them before Him as I bowed in awe and worship. I pictured Him sitting on His throne, smiling on me, and, dream-of-all-dreams, saying to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It was amazing, but not completely fulfilling.
Then I saw this picture.
The love of Jesus is amazing. To think that while He was dying on the cross, He thought of me with love. Even when He knew that I was going mess up, He loved me. Even now as He watches me stumble blindly through life, He loves me. And when I leave this life and see Him face to face, He will love me still. No matter how much I’ve made a mess out of what He’s given me, if I’m covered by His blood and saved by His grace, He will rejoice as much as I that I will be with Him for eternity. I won’t be the only one with tears of joy streaming down my face. Jesus, my King, will be there also, even as He wipes my tears away. In this picture, we can see how Jesus didn’t just sit on His throne, waiting for the treasures to be presented, instead He left His throne and caught his child in His arms, embracing His son who is home. When I imagine myself in the place of the man in the picture, that’s when the tears come to my eyes. Can you imagine the joy of it? The overwhelming joy of feeling Jesus’ arms hold you close, of feeling His nail-pierced hands stroke your head, of laying your head on His shoulder, the shoulder of your Savior? To feel His heartbeat, to hear Him crying tears of joy, to hear Him whisper gently in your ear those longed for words, “Well done.” There is nothing that I long for more than that moment. The crown that I will be given by grace, splendid though it will be, will in no way compare to Jesus; the joy of talking with Him, walking with Him, and worshiping Him face to face.
There will be nothing greater than being with Jesus, where I belong.
There will be nothing greater than being safely home.