I love the beach. My husband and I are what you call “beach people.” Last month we spent our annual family vacation at the gulf. It was a fabulous week—swimming all day long, toes in the white sand, picturesque turquois water. It was perfect, that is it was until we had to leave. As Joe pulled our family van from the drive of our rental and we made our way down the main drag of the island, all we could do was stare out the window, disappointed, flat, and wishing we could live amongst the palm trees and brightly painted beach houses. For some reason we always feel that life would better and easier if we could stay there permanently and make it our home. This has always been a desire of mine, to live steps from the ocean, but in my heart, I know it would never be enough.
If there is one thing I have learned in my life thus far, it’s that I am satisfied with nothing this world has to offer. I realize that makes me sound like a pessimist or a fatalist, but there is always this longing, this yearning for something more. Even the things I love or the things that make me happy are never enough. I am still left feeling a bit discontented, and there is this pursuit for something impossible to attain—perfection.
Please make no mistake, there are beautiful things in this world. God’s creation is marvelous, at the very least. And being a wife, a mother, a friend—these are all things that are sources of great joy for me. Our relationships are to be sought after and treasured. However, creation is not perfect, and we are not perfect.
I often look around me and see that even in the best of times, something is not quite right. I feel out of place, like I don’t quite belong. To speak plainly, I feel sort of…homesick. And the answer why is simple: I am not home.
You see, in the beginning, we were created to fit in place perfectly. We were created in a perfect garden, in perfect relationship with God. We didn’t need to attain perfection or strive for it because it was already present. Our home was with God, walking in the cool of the day with Him. But after the Fall, our relationship with God and His creation changed. And here we are, left longing for something better, trying to be perfect because it’s the way we’re designed to be. It’s no wonder humanity is never satisfied with its lot in life. And for those of us who have been reconciled back to God into a right relationship with Him through Jesus, we long to be with Him and feel no satisfaction until we are (no matter how much we or Satan try to deceive ourselves).
For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven… Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 5:2,6-8
Honestly, the only time I ever feel the yearning cease, is when I am in God’s Word or when I am on my knees in conversation with Him. I can’t see Him, I can’t reach out and touch Him, but I know He is there, because I feel like I am home. The gap is filled, nothing is missing, and this is what gets me through the moments in life when I feel like an outsider, which is almost always. We can’t walk by sight right now, in the cool of the day with God surrounded by His perfect creation, so we must walk by faith, praying and studying His Word. I find solace and comfort in reading the Scriptures, reminded of the many promises God has made to us. And there is nothing like laying all my burdens out there for God to pick up for me when I finally admit that I can’t carry it on my own. But most of all, what gets me through the longings, the yearnings, the feelings of displacement is the knowledge that I am not home yet, that all of this is just temporary. I have faith that I have a heavenly home waiting for me, a home that will far surpass any of my wildest expectations, a home with my Lord Jesus.
And with that, I leave you with my favorite C.S. Lewis quote: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”