They were longing for a better country… a heavenly one.
Think for a moment about the word paradise, what comes to your mind? Do thoughts of a tropical retreat with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees hit the mark? Or does a cabin up in snow-capped mountains with stunning views better fit your notion of the word? My idea of paradise would be a cottage with flower-filled gardens set in the Lake District of England.
The mere thought of getting away to places such as these stirs our hearts with longing. There is something almost magical in the plotting and planning of a trip, whether it is to Boston or Barbados, Portland or Paris. Once we've settled on where we are going, the anticipation begins to build as the longed-for day of departure approaches, which to me is half the fun. After counting down the days on your calendar, you finally begin your journey, and before you know it, you are at the destination of your dreams - you are in paradise.
The strangest thing begins to happen to me after I've been away awhile, however. I begin to feel a lot like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Although Dorothy and I once ached to be somewhere over the rainbow where all our dreams would come true, it is not long after our wishes have been fulfilled that we begin to yearn to be back home.
It is not my little house, that is in a constant state of repair, that begins tugging at my heart. It wasn't even my pooch who'd spin in circles with excitement when I'd walk through the door, although that was a perk! No, what creates a sense of homesickness in me is that wonderful feeling of being settled instead of living out of a suitcase; it is being back in familiar surroundings instead of being completely map-dependent; it is the precious feeling of being known and loved instead of the loneliness of being a stranger everywhere I go. Yes, I must admit that Dorothy is right…there really is no place like home.
And yet…once I am back home, facing all the chores that must be done, the bills that have been piling up since I've been gone, and the telemarketers who persistently call at all hours of the day, it doesn't take long before I am once again dreaming of paradise!
And that my friend is the reality that we must face as long as we live on planet earth. There will always be that constant tugging and pulling, that unsettled feeling of being torn between two places.It is a reminder that ultimately, home and paradise meet in eternity. We will never feel completely comfortable until we reach our heavenly home.
All of us have times when our hearts are full of a restless longing. Sometimes, we try to fill that aching emptiness with earthly things: a new relationship, a new house, a trip to new places. These things distract us for a while, but in the end, we are always left wanting something…more.
That yearning hunger in our hearts is normal and healthy, though. We were created for heaven and we will be homesick until at last we live in the place Jesus has prepared for us there.
Heaven - Glimpses of Glory
Thank you, Father for "setting eternity in our hearts"; what a joy it will be when we are finally at home in paradise with You!