Longing for Home.
In the last couple weeks, I have been thinking about the meaning OF life as well as meaning IN life - partially related to two prominent figures who took their own lives. Both of their deaths really bothered me, but for different reasons. And strangely at the same time, I was aware of some personal disquiet, and wondering about it, interviewed myself.
Indeed I came to understand some of my thoughts were kind of like longings. At first, I felt less than for having them; I questioned if I was indulging myself right into a lack of contentment. See I believe Paul wrote this statement largely for our benefit: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."1(Yeah, and he was in prison when he wrote that.) I believe that in obedience to God, I too am to learnwhat it means to be content, and walk in that.
Yet we have longings - all is not as it ought be. I am encouraged by the fact that those who were commended for their great faith, recorded in Hebrews 11, are also noted to have been 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.2
"If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world." C.S. Lewis. That's just it--we were made for Heaven, made to be with God. Paul said, we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.3 While we have glimpses of Glory to be sure, true joy and longings fulfilled will only come when we are in the eternal presence of God.
John wrote about "a new heaven and a new earth," where God's dwelling place is among the people, and he will dwell with us, when we will be his people, and God himself will be with us and be our God. 'He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."4 Oh, and there is so much more in Revelation chapter 21.
In the meantime, Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.5
In the meantime, we live fully for the Lord . . . Fourteen years ago, I went to an evangelism conference that featured Lee Strobel, the atheist turned apologist for the Christian faith, George Barna who gave staggering statistics about faith in America across the generations, and the decline of the church. I also heard this guy-Erwin MacManus, who was riveting. No Powerpoint, no great audio-visuals, no soundtrack or videoclip - just a stool and his smallish black Bible. In his latest book, he wrote
"We each have one life, but this life has eternal significance.
What we do in this one life has infinite implications, and beyond that,
our stories are bigger than history. Our stories don't end when we do.
They are only the beginning of much greater stories, the content of which we are completely unaware... most of us underestimate how much God actually wants to do in our lives and through our lives."6
See, we all have God-given quivers with arrows we are meant to shoot, and we are not meant to die with our quivers full.
And in the meantime - the time between now and Heaven, we love fully
because God loved us first, and because in loving, we are most like him. As Christ followers, it is so important that we express our love for others. I just finished writing on Philippians, and I was taken yet again by the apostle Paul's open affection for his Christian brothers and sisters. I always think of Paul as a man's man, and yet I'm not sure the 'Marlboro Man', or 'the most interesting man in the world' both well known to television viewers, would have expressed themselves the way he did. "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown..."7
It is true. Our longings point us home, For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.8 So yes, we have longings . . . and
longings are a good thing as they point us home.
1 - Philippians 4.11-12
2 - Hebrews 11.16
3 - Philippians 3.20
4 - Revelation 21.1-4
5 - Hebrews 12.2
6 - The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life, Erwin Raphael McManus
7 - Philippians 4.1
8 - 1 Corinthian 13.12