Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a magical song, isn’t it? As opposed to the endless number of trendy songs that soar to the top of the charts for a week or two and then are never heard from again, it’s a classic that has stood the test of time. There’s a reason for this. I’m sure part of the song’s popularity has to do with how well it sums up the storyline of one of the most popular movies of all time. As Dorothy sings it in The Wizard of Oz, she is a young teenager pining away, wishing she was anywhere other than on her aunt and uncle’s farm in Kansas. By the end of her marvelous adventure though, she is clicking her heels together and reciting the golden truth “there’s no place like home.” Somewhere over the rainbow, she finds out, is home.
Then too, there’s something haunting and poignant to see a seventeen year old Judy Garland singing a song that is so full of hope and optimism and to know that her life didn’t work out nearly as well as Dorothy’s does in the movie. But it’s not just Judy Garland. The version of SOTR that most of us hear today is a catchy, ukulele-based medley of SOTR and What a Wonderful World made by a Hawaiian singer named Israel Kamakawiwo in 1993. Kamakawiwo suffered from his own demons and died four years later at the age of 38. So with either version of the song, there is real world pain in the presence of other world longing.
All in all, the Bible has surprisingly little to say about heaven (or hell for that matter). It tells us enough about heaven to assure us that we want to go there and enough about hell to convince us we don’t want to go there. But it tells us nowhere near enough to satisfy our curiosity or our questions.
Having said that, I know this to be true about heaven: However else we are to understand it, it is our home. It’s the home that we long for deep in our heart of hearts when we’ve tasted the very best this life has to offer and though grateful, still know there must be something more. Heaven is what we want when we come to the realization that we are less earthly beings on a heavenly journey and more heavenly beings on an earthly journey. Heaven is our over-the-rainbow home.
Our earthly homes are fine and wonderful and we’ll take all of them that we can get, but just the same, they don’t compare with this home. In this home there is no cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, or nausea. There are no missing children, broken hearts, or buried dreams. There are no intensive care units where loved ones lie helpless, no funeral homes where we go to grieve, or cemeteries to walk numbly through. Heaven is where death is no longer alive.
In heaven we’ll be with the Father who made us, the Brother who died for us, and the Spirit who fills us. We’ll be with all of our spiritual family who have gone on before.
Heaven is somewhere over the rainbow. It’s belongs to those who belong to Jesus because it was made possible by His death and resurrection. If you know God, then you know all of this is not too good to be true. It’s too good not to be true.
And you know there is no place like home.