Click above to listen to a portion of Longing for Heavenly Country as you read. Visit climbtothesky.com for links to this 10th and newest album, music video, CD, MP3 Album, Sheet Music, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.
What does “Longing for Heavenly Country” mean to you when you first read this phrase?
This blog post is dedicated to my friend Craig, and in honor and memory of his wife Kellie. I just found out overnight that Kellie passed away from cancer at age thirty-nine, on October 13th, the day of my Atlanta release concert for the new album Climb to the Sky (“Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there!” Psalm 139:7-8, The Message).
The new song Longing for Heavenly Country inspired by Hebrews 11:16, is deeply connected to the album cover art that Craig created in 2011 for my 7th album A Thousand Years. As you listen to the melody, take a look at the image Craig created below. Pause and study it for yourself, for a minute or two. Take in the amazing creativity, and the elements illustrating the inspiration from Psalm 90:4, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (NIV)
Then, see below the image for how it captures the essence of Longing for Heavenly Country…
With God’s grace and help, Craig and Kellie demonstrated great faith during her battle with cancer. Even though we cannot understand or explain many things that happen during our life on earth, or how God’s ways are often mysterious, Craig and I were discussing how He tells us His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Below are five of the rich symbols of “Heavenly Country” in Craig’s image for A Thousand Years.
- The Dove. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, and is our Guide, Counselor and Comforter (Matthew 3:16, Isaiah 11:2, 2 Corinthians 1:4).
- The Flowing Water. “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38, NIV)
- The Overflowing Cups. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows…” (Psalm 23:5, NIV)
- The Books Holding Up the Piano. One of these is an old Bible. “Your word is a lamp for my feet.” (Psalm 119:105, NIV).
- The Shoes for the Piano Pedals. These are Craig’s grandfather’s shoes. They are a symbol of our legacy, of God’s faithfulness, that we pass down to our children, and our children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Kellie has a perspective on these truths, these glimpses of heaven, that we do not yet fully know. I am certain she would want us to know how much Jesus loves us, believes in us, and forgives us, even though sometimes we may not feel like we love him, believe in Him, or have been forgiven by Him. Today I give thanks to God for Craig and Kellie being part of my life and music story.
How does the music and these words speak into your “longing for heavenly country?”
“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” — Hebrews 11:16 (NIV)