A dear friend of mine swung through New Orleans the other day.
I hadn’t seen Abby since we led a mission trip together in Peru over a year ago. Both of us now live in different cities than the ones we used to live, and our lives are pretty radically different than when we last spoke, so naturally, I was excited to catch up. After ordering some authentic Nawlin’s cuisine at a hole-in-the-wall dive bar in the French Quarter, I began letting her have it—my entire life story for the past year.
As I spoke, I was shocked at how much my life has changed in one short year. I don’t tend to notice this as each day passes, but looking back, I can see how drastic the transformation has been. I’m sure you’ve read C.S. Lewis’s quote from Prince Caspian that pertains to this same idea:
“Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different...”
We can agree that life feels pretty mundane most of the time. And as much as we claim to dislike the ordinary, we cling on to it like a supernatural life raft. When major life events take place, we initially feel the shock, knowing that things are about to be immensely different. After the earthquake hits, the tsunami is soon to follow…and as we paddle violently to stay afloat, we reminisce jealously on the days when things were calm and collected.
It isn’t too long before the water subsides. The days continue to pass by slowly and casually, and suddenly…things start to feel pretty normal all over again. Obviously so, being that we humans are creatures of habit…which we inevitably form without even realizing it. We find comfort in the normalcy of life, building familiar routines. But before we know it, life’s patterns leave us feeling like things are mundane once again. The oddest part of it all? We return to feeling discontent and longing for change all over again.
Sound exhausting? Well, we are….us humans, that is. We seek for familiarity, yet when we have it, we feel like there’s something missing. We want our roots to grow deep where they once were uprooted, yet we regularly long for something “new” and “fresh”. We find ourselves falling into the trap of constantly desiring change, while simultaneously working overtime towards building routine habits.
Pondering on this lack of consistency in most of us, it leaves me to question…are we constantly living like tourists who desire to explore the world around us, yet lie in bed feeling homesick at the end of each day?
If so, how can we find rest for our exhausted souls—as we desire to belong but live as if we don’t?
Like Lewis said: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Prior to personally beginning a relationship with Jesus, I lived my entire life walking through the motions of where the world promised happiness could be found—relationships, self-indulgence, money, friends, success—I sought after these things, attaining them most of the time. Yet somehow, it always felt that each time I thought I grasped one of these fleeting pleasures, they disappeared in my palms, like catching a perfectly round and glistening bubble, to only have the wet remains left in your clenched fist.
Once I gave my life to Jesus, I understood why my satisfaction just couldn’t be found in anything this world had to offer. Like Paul assured the people of Corinth—their outer selves were wasting away, but not to lose heart, because their inner-selves were being renewed day by day. Paul reminded the Corinthians, which remains true to us today, that we are to look to the things that are unseen—because those things are eternal—the things that are seen (i.e. anything this world has to offer) are transient—they go just as fast as they come.
My soul longed for something that was steadfast. Something that would remain constant through life's ever-changing seasons...something that was deeper than a good time or a quick pleasure. As I studied God, through the life of Jesus, I realized that He was what I had spent my entire life seeking—the only thing that remains forever—that which had been before the foundations of the world. Upon realizing this truth, I soon understood the reason behind my perpetual seeking. I understood that I was fashioned by and made in the image of an eternal God—who IS love and who IS righteousness—two things I will never be. I understood that my incessant hunger for more can only be satisfied by the one who gave it to me—and that in Him alone there is being, existence and purpose.
The more I grow in knowledge and understanding of this incomprehensible God, the more assuredly I am able to rest in the fact that this Earth isn’t my forever-home. Why? Well, I am indeed created for more...for a perfect world. A world that isn't infected with evil. The longing that is felt lies in the fact that this broken world isn’t all there is. Although we occupy a tiny space on Earth, our souls belong elsewhere, and when we turn to Jesus, we are freed from having to spend our days seeking immediate reinforcements to satisfy the longing.
Dear friend, have you (maybe without noticing) been longing for eternity? Has your soul desired that which this world cannot offer?
If so, you are not alone. Turn to Jesus...only He can satisfy that longing for more. For as you seek Him, you are given but a tiny glimpse of the eternity that is written in your heart, and the home to which your soul truly belongs. As King Solomon said, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart..." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)