I wrote a devotional for a prayer guide that a group in my church is putting together this summer. I thought I would share part of it here on the blog.
When I was in college my roommate and I had a picture of one of the tropical islands in the Maldives on our dorm room door. It had gorgeous white sand that stretched out to meet beautiful turquoise water. There was something about the picture that soothed me. Yet at the same time it gave me a deep longing.
When I am tired and stressed out and I just want to get away from my life I think about going to a place like Maldives. Something in me aches for more than what I find in my daily life. I think that getting to a place like Maldives will make it go away. Yet I’ve been to beautiful places before and it doesn’t make the ache going away. It makes it even worse.
C.S. Lewis knew about this ache too. In Mere Christianity he writes, “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 call tropical islands "paradise", another word for heaven. When I’m honest with myself I realize that’s what I’m looking for—a little piece of heaven on earth. But to expect heaven before our time on earth is over is setting ourselves up for disappointment. You’re not going to get the fulfillment you’re looking for in this life. Not completely. That sounds a little depressing. And if this life is all there is, it would be depressing. Thankfully we have HOPE. We have a promise that this is not all there is. Read what Paul writes in Romans 8:20-25.
"Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)”
It doesn’t matter where we are, whether it is in the suburbs of LA or a gorgeous tropical island. There are certain longings in our life that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. That ache will always be there until we are united with Christ in heaven. One day, as followers of Christ, we will have all our longings fulfilled. We will finally be complete.