“If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 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 11:15-16, NIV)
Since finishing my studies and beginning to pursue full-time ministry, it feels like my life has just been one transition after another. New countries, new teams, new job descriptions, new relationships; interspersed with times of trying to fit a new me into an old place. Each transition has stirred up longing.
At first, I thought it was mainly a longing for wherever, whatever or whom-ever I had just left. But it grew stronger with time, and would surface, not only in moments of loneliness and feeling displaced or overwhelmed, but sometimes in the midst of things I thought should assuage it—an afternoon in nature, a satisfying ending to a good book, time with a loved one.
I started to wonder if somewhere in all the moving and changes something inside me had broken. Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with what God had given me and where I was at? Where did this restlessness keep coming from?
And then, a few months ago, sitting in a little park between a long bus ride and an upcoming train ride, God brought me this: “The truth is, we’re always a bit restless. We’re supposed to be. This is not a flaw in our faith, it is faith’s substance. It is a divine ruse to keep us from making permanent settlement this side of eternity.” (Buchanan, 214).
And suddenly it just clicked.
The longing doesn’t come because there is something wrong with me, but because there is something right! I was created for more than what this broken world can offer, and each transition stripped away a few more things that dulled me to that truth. God was using each ending and new beginning to deepen my awareness of my need for Him.
Now I’m coming to recognize that longing, not as homesickness, or loneliness, or anything else, but as a longing for God and for the time and place when I can enjoy Him unhindered and without end…a longing for heaven.
Warmly in Christ, Lena Larsen
“All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from You.” (Psalm 38:9, NIV)
What are you longing for right now? How might that longing stem from a longing for God?
What are the things that keep you from looking forward to heaven?
*Buchanan, Mark. The Rest of God. W Publishing Group, 2006.