My mind often turns to the idea of Home…..of heaven, whatever that will look like.
But often, for very selfish reasons. Self-serving reasons. A longing for rest. A yearning for a life without sin which so easily tangles. A desire for all that is wrong to be made right. A hope for a settled-ness that endures–a mind that is settled, a soul that is settled. No more grief. No more capacity to do wrong, to sin, to hurt others.
My motives, as always, are skewed incorrectly, because far too often, these longings become the focus of my hope, and not the one who is the object of my hope..
Not that the things listed above are wrong desires and longings. They aren’t–as long as they do not overshadow the One who is the very source of all of those longings.
Sometimes, I forget that the chief aim of the eternal life that salvation grants, is the “joy of self-forgetfulness” and the awe of no longer seeing as though through a mirror dimly, but seeing Christ face-to-face:
I am, so very selfish. Self-Centered. Even, sometimes, in my longings for home.
Interrupted sleep has characterized this night, and with the interruption has come thoughts of home. Strong yearnings for home. But maybe now, after some study over the past hour or so, there is perhaps an all-too-often absent focus of those thoughts and longings.
O, all the same thoughts are there–the same yearnings, the same desires. I don’t think those will ever disappear; nor do I think that they necessarily should. There lies hope in those desires. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” There is life–eternal life–in the fulfillment of that hope which will come when home is realized.
But it is the object of that hope which creates the joy that home will bring. It is the sitting at the feet of Jesus in worship, that creates the very fulfillment of all the things longed for in going home. The settledness. The peace. The absence of ability to sin. The absence of grief. The righting of all things wrong. All of these are only possible through the object of our worship. And the object of our worship–the lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice–is the chief aim. These other aims, these other desires, though good, should be secondary. Are secondary.
I’m not sure that I always grasp that, in my sinful selfishness. But I need to. More. And more.
Earlier tonight, before interrupted sleep, I came across one of the best articles I have ever read, on corporate worship, though I don’t think I fully grasped what it was saying until sleep was interrupted, and the longings for home overwhelmed. Located at the Desiring God website and written by David Mathis, I imagine it is an article that I will return to often. I urge you to read it; your time will not be wasted in doing so. While the focus of the article is corporate worship within our churches, and how worshipping together with fellow Christ-followers is a means of grace, his words also seem to point toward corporate worship together–not alone, as I so often imagine it–at the throne of Jesus, once the old earth has gone and the new has been established–once we go home.
In particular, this paragraph right here, is not nothing:
The answer is that our focus should not be self-consciously preoccupied with how we’re being strengthened or what grace we’re receiving. Rather, our focus together is the crucified and risen Christ, and the incomparable excellencies of his person and work. Which illumines all the various spiritual disciplines. Corporate worship is a means of grace not when we’re caught up with what we’re doing, but when we experience the secret of worship — the joy of self-forgetfulness — as we become preoccupied together with Jesus and his manifold perfections.
No, the longings and desires for what home will bring do not change. I know, for my own soul, those longings are deep. So deep. But maybe my focus–and yours, and ours as a corporate family of Christ-followers–needs to shift more to the “crucified and risen Christ, and the incomparable excellencies of his person and work”, far above what we gain and receive in the fulfillment of our hopes and longings.
Or, to put it another way, I, and we, need a fresh realization that He is our hope. He is what we desire. He is what we long for. And, in Him, these things are found. They are by-products of the very grace that He is.