And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ~Romans 8:23, ESV
Now I do. Or at least a little bit. Now I am longing for a home to raise our children in to the point where even though I’m okay with the present circumstances most days, a part of me aches for a real home like an amputee must ache for their missing limb. Sure I can function without it, but with it life seems easier, fuller.
This should be the way we long for heaven. At times I have longed for heaven like this. When life was HARD, and when someone I loved went home. But I don’t live in this longing, especially now that I have children. Now most days I’m like, “Okay, LORD, I know I need to go home someday, but right now these children NEED me. Please let me stay here at least until they are raised.”
What if I longed for heaven the way I now long for a home here? What would change? For one, I would spend a lot less time looking at and desiring things here on earth. For instance, right now I refuse to look at gardening catalogues and flowers, decorating websites and furniture, cooking shows and cookware, because I don’t want to want those things. I know could end up buying a lot of stuff that won’t fit in my next home, or I would end up really discontent looking at things and not being able to have them, so I refuse to look at all.
If I viewed my time here on earth in the same way, I would place a great deal more emphasis on those things that will last—relationships and my family. And far less emphasis on those things that won’t—lots of stuff that has to be stored, cleaned, and cared for.
I am not saying we should completely ignore our homes and not take care of them or make them pretty. We should use the gifts God gave us to bless others. For me that means making my house and yard one that is inviting and peaceful. When people come to visit my home, I want them to feel welcome and at peace.
For me it also means buying things that are durable and easily cared for, instead of chasing the latest and greatest and worrying about it all getting broken. I don’t want to spend all my time caring for fussy things and flowers. I want ones that are worry free and can easily take care of themselves so I can spend more time with my boys.
Finally, for me it also means having open hands when it comes to my stuff. If someone needs something, I want to open my hands quickly to lend it or give it, especially since it’s not really mine anyway.
The challenge for me will be to remember these lessons when I am no longer stuck in this tiny little apartment–to remember my longing and where my real home is, instead of burying them under mountains of stuff.
How does Paul describe the longing for heaven here?
At what times in your life have you longed for heaven like this?
What is the promise here?
If you longed for heaven in this way and kept Jesus’ promise in mind daily, what might it mean for you? What changes would you make?