Have you ever struggled with a bad case of homesickness? I remember my first mission trip to Mongolia. After an interesting flight from Beijing on China Air (with our dental charts taped to our chests for ease of identification), we spent about two weeks in and around the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. We were incredibly isolated. At that time there were only two hotels that might accommodate foreign visitors and two restaurants that could feed us. There were no newspapers, no internet, no radio and only one program on national TV broadcast in English.
I had no contact with the outside world, no news from the U. S., no communication with the school and no conversations with folks I love. I was terribly homesick.
But that kind of homesickness does indeed make the heart grow fonder. And, in a very real way, “spiritual” homesickness is similar. As we thoughtfully consider our REAL home (Heaven), it ought to create in us a serious craving for the world to come.
Augustine once declared, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” A theologian Donald Bloesch remarked about the human race, “Our greatest affliction is not anxiety, or even guilt, but rather homesickness-a nostalgia or ineradicable yearning to be at home with God.”
One of C. S. Lewis’s most famous quotes continues that thought. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
We were made for another world. And, we are not home yet!
But it is good every now and again to really consider the merits of our eternal home. Randy Alcorn’s book “Heaven” is one of the best overall treatments of this important subject that I know. It is a must read for all Christians.
In that work, Alcorn writes about the silly assumptions we make about heaven. We see it as very “other worldly,” foreign in nature, having no time or space dimensions, where we have nothing to do, no opportunity to learn or grow, no meaningful activities and all of our favorite things have disappeared.
Truth is heaven is a very real place, with definite time and space dimensions. There will be a myriad of dynamic activities and a fascinating endless array of discoveries to make. We will be serving God and active in worship. Much of the delight of heaven will involve relationships and things that we are most familiar with.
Like the heroes listed in Hebrews 11, we need to be actively “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” We need to be “longing for a better country, a heavenly one…”
If your heart is a little heavy this week, if you are struggling with the realities of modern living, if a physical ailment is relentless, or a relationship is painful…maybe you need to stop and focus on heaven. Take some time to read and reread the vivid description in Revelation 21 and remember the personal words of Jesus. “I go to prepare a place for you; I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
I am homesick for that!!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel