“He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4).
Living in a foreign country, I often find myself craving something. I think it’s because I’m in a state of discomfort – I’m in a country I don’t know with people I’m not used to using items I wouldn’t normally use and speaking a language in a way that prevents me from feeling known and from knowing others well. I keep craving what I think comfort is: my family; my best friends; my own bedroom and bathroom; my cooking or crafting supplies; my own car; ‘normal’ food; lakes; English; Duluth; home. I keep finding myself wishing for these things because I know they’d bring me back into my comfort zone.
But then this feeling of deep dissatisfaction comes over me. It shakes me to the bone. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. It frustrates me and makes me squirm because it reminds me that even these comforts can’t bring me satisfaction. It reminds me that what I’m really longing for is not from here. Because this land, this world, is not my home: “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
When I was younger, and sometimes even now, and I was having a bad day, I’d find myself saying “I want to go home.” And then on the days when I was already in my home but was equally having a bad day, I would thoroughly confuse myself by still mumbling that same phrase: “I want to go home.” This frustrated me because I was already in my literal house but couldn’t prevent myself from saying that, nor figure out this intense longing I had.
It was not long ago that I realized that this ‘home’ I am craving – that I’ve been craving since I was little – is not a home here in Peru or in Minneapolis or in Duluth. This home I am longing after is my heavenly home. In the midst of hurt or confusion or discomfort or just feeling the weight of sin, I long for a place where there will be no more tears or pain or suffering. I long for a place where I get to eternally rest in the perfect presence of God because “we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior” (Philippians 3:20). Amen. AMEN. The waiting is eager, expectant, hopeful, and full of desire for restoration and redemption through my king Jesus Christ.
Though, sometimes it feels like the weight of sin is too much for me to handle. And so again I want to crawl out of my skin because I feel like I am preventing myself from what it is I really desire. But then I turn my face to Him and He changes my heart to remind me of the hope He brings for this broken world and for my hurting heart and my fear in the world lessens because I have a God that has victory over the things that hinder and hurt us now: “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4).
“….obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 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” (Hebrews 11:14-16).