Read Hebrews 11:13-16
13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (NLT)
If there is one word that sums up the theme of my own life it is ‘longing’. It is something touched on by our text today. Longing, unfulfilled desire, are an essential part of life on earth because we were made for something more than this life on this earth.
God has given us many wonderful things to enjoy on earth: Christianity is not dismissive of beauty and pleasure. Rather it traces its source beyond that which immediately brings us beauty and pleasure. C. S. Lewis says that lovely people and things are more like good images of what we desire rather than the things themselves: “They are the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not visited.”
All the delightful pleasures we now enjoy are real enough, but even so are pointers to a deeper and eternal pleasure that lays beyond. Our memorable travels through breathtaking landscapes will pass. Our smile-soaked encounters with precious friends will pass. They are wonderful and so very real stops along the way but are not our final destination.
The new heavens and the new earth are where our desires are fully met and our longings finally fulfilled. Till that time, we content ourselves with embracing those hints of heaven that come our way, comforting ourselves that one day the hints and tastes and glimpses will have passed. The season of longing will have ended.