'These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland...' - Heb 11:13-14
Over the past few years, these verses and those surrounding them have become quite significant to me. The longer I live here on earth the more I find myself less desirous of being here and more desirous of being somewhere else.
The initial reaction to making this kind of statement in one sort of company is a quick and fearful contradiction. People say, 'You don't really mean that' and go on to encourage me to embrace life and all that it has to offer. But, in another sort of company, the response is different. For those who have felt it too, the response will be a soft, 'Amen.' accompanied by an understanding nod.
You see, while life on earth is truly a magnificent, brilliant collection of beautiful moments; love and laughter, food and friendship, sunrises and sunsets...it is just that, a collection of moments that when examined more closely are found to riddled with small chips and cracks.
Have you ever noticed that you rarely hear of a birth without also hearing of a death...or of a wedding without hearing about a divorce...or of a great accomplishment without also hearing of a defeat? All of life here on earth is like that. There is always a bit of not so great mixed in with the truly great. Every gain is accompanied by a loss.
And so, deep down inside, we long for a place where that will no longer be the case. Where there will be only life and love and gain. CS Lewis wrote of this place in 'The Last Battle' when the Unicorn, overcome with joy cries, 'I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now...' then turning toward the children calls, 'Come further up, come further in!'
This is the land that I long for. As age is bringing me to the place where I begin to accept the things that I cannot change and experience has brought me to the place where I am no longer surprised by disappointment, I now begin to look for the home I am being prepared for.
By faith, I look to Jesus who said, 'If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you unto myself, that where I am you may be also...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'
May you and I find our home in Him today.