Ever been in that awkward family photo moment where you’re trying to invite all your siblings and parents and everyone else to gather together for that last family picture…and someone doesn’t want to be a part of it and rejects your invitations to come and join you?  Maybe it was because of a rift in relationships, or feelings of inadequacy, or problems of some sort that kept family on edge.

I have.  And it’s a sad feeling.  I know there’s a longing by some that the family could be whole again.  I know that there are feelings of frustration, anger, bitterness, sadness, and fear.  And the one who refuses to come and be a part of it?  It is not the family who rejects him…but it is he who keeps himself away.  When such walls get put up between members of the family, it’s hard to smile for that picture.  You can’t Photoshop the sadness away from that picture.

But I’ve also been in family photos where everyone just wants to be a part of it.  Everyone is laughing and smiling and giggling and scooting in to get closer.  You can see the happiness in their smiles, the brightness in their eyes, the love in their faces.  There are no emotional walls, no griefs, no regrets.  Just big smiles…and love….and admiration…and joy.

In a way, this is how I see what Heaven is like:  All are invited to come.  All are welcome to be a part of it.  There are smiles…and giggles…and laughs…and love..and togetherness.  This is what God wants for all of us, His children.  He wants us to be a part of His family picture.  He wants us to be Home…with Him.  He wants His Family…WHOLE…COMPLETE.

However, there will also be those who will not be a part of it.  And it’s not because they’re rejected by those in “the happy group”.  No.  Instead, it is because they feel uncomfortable to be a part of it.  They have built up their own walls that keep them from coming.  They have rejected themselves out of Heaven.  And though God wants them to come, these individuals will see themselves as unfit to be in His presence.  They have created their own rift in their relationship with Him.  They will be ashamed to be a part of the group.  And He will be sad for them…for they do not want to be with Him.

The more family pictures we take, the more convinced I am of how our relationships as families emulate our familial relationship with the Father of us all.  And the more I wish to make my home and family as a haven, and a heaven, on Earth…because, one day, I want to be a part of that Great Family Picture of Heaven…and I want my family to want to be there too.  It’ll just be a familiar feeling for them…and a great feeling to be a part of.

So, live…so we can be a part of the picture when we get back!

You come, too!