The longing of the heart

Ps 84: 1-2 (AMP)

How lovely are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns, yes even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the Living God.

This verse profoundly points to a deepest longing of our hearts. Could hearts be homesick, unless we belonged to another world? C S Lewis puts it well, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is I was made for another world”. (Mere Christianity)

Abraham from the bible literally lived this way. We are given an account of this in Heb 11: 9 & 10 (AMP)

“By Faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise, in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to a city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder was God.”

Have you ever felt this way, as if you don’t belong here? Well the Bible says that you are not the only one to feel so. It is as if we have a distant memory of something that is real and true, that this world could never provide. Some may have many possessions namely, good spouse, good children, good church, good friends, house, friends and so on. Yet there is nostalgia there seems to never disappear and be fully quenched. If I could explain it further, I would add that it is a sense of lack of permanency in these good things that seem to disappoint and therefore keeps us looking for more.

Homeward bound

We do see from the 2 above mentioned verses that there is a homesickness that is mentioned. Usually we would say that a home is synonymous with feelings of rest, belonging, familiarity and peace. For example, I took my wife to see my university that I studied at, the hostel that I lived in, the library that was a daily destination and so on and so forth. Some things had changed. It had a new coat of paint on, the people looked different, there seemed to be no body I could identify with. Even though, the structures were still the same, the fondness and excitement seemed to be missing. I was looking forward to the trip, however it had not been as joyful and smashing as I thought it would be. Now, this is just an example to show that our hearts seem to have a memory trace of something very fond from the past which we can never really see in this present time and reality.

It is as if we were in Adam and Eve before they sinned, where they experienced ultimate joy, love, peace all combined together in the personhood of God and being in His Company. And it is as if we had been separated with Adam and Eve from the permanence of God and Eden. This was a result of sin. Sin in its very essence is fascination with the self and it opts to separate itself from God. But God had put something within all of us! The Bible says in

Eccl 3:11 (AMP)

He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.

It’s like God planted a mole within us. We could never truly run away from Him. Its a part of Him (eternity) within us. Hence we are relational, creative, loving, sincere, kind of like God in nature with finiteness written all over it. But sin (self-centredness) stained the very fabric of our being. Only the precious sinless blood of our second representative (second Adam), Lord Jesus could remove the every stain of sin. To restore us back to God, He had to pay the full penalty for our wickedness and rebellion. He did not stop there, He ordained for any person who believes in Him, that his/her name would be written in the Lamb’s book of life. Therefore we are now home bound.

What does it mean practically?

We had seen Abraham who in tents, in spite of being very rich. I am not suggesting for a moment that we have to be campers for the rest our lives, but the principle is of travelling light, with our eyes on the one who mediates heaven and earth for the complete fulfilment of His plans. Jer 29:11 gives us the purpose in these plans, “For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”

Every believer needs a constant reminder of this very plan. It is of peace and the final outcome would be worth it! Rev 22 describes our destination, New Heaven and Earth, but in verse 4 we see the climax, our chance to see God’s face and be with Him for eternity. Wow what a privilege. We then will have access to the tree of life, the place that our ancestors had once been kept away. Not that immortality would be of any value apart from our creator. It is there that every bit of our senses would be working at the absolute maximum and we would see beauty as we have never seen before, in the One who gave Himself for us.

So as we live in this world may we not chase after the perishable, but seek and abide in the permanent. None of these things would ever be ours with religious performance; it is all actuated in our lives by faith in the finished work of Lord Jesus. His death and resurrection is the driving force of every passion and all things should be done for His glory.

Spouse, children, work and every other thing we have is made for us, rather than we being made for them. These are all good things which can never be ‘the ultimate’. May we live the rest of our lives with our eyes looking unto Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. May we be restored in our relationship with our maker because we owe Him everything.