So, here I am again after a week without a few things. No TV except for Billy Blank’s Tae-Bo (it’s cold outside) and a couple dates when my wife was sick and couldn’t move. No music because music is my number one way of getting out of doing anything–that was super difficult. But then, I also had no internet so I could not be distracted because the internet distracts us like–hey a butterfly!
The result was a good one, though. I finished a novella I was working on and got started on its successor, I read two books and got started on a third, my wife and I had a lot of quality time, including hiking up in Pere Marquet in Illinois. My wife told on Sunday night that I had been infinitely more focused on her. I’m a spacey guy, and she said it was good to have my full attention. It felt good to do it, too. I was almost loathe to return to the internet because I fear the distractions, but I know the necessity.
But the other reason I did all this was because I wanted to focus more on God, to be of one mind when reading the Bible or praying. It’s been quite good, trying to tune myself into Jesus and see where He is. I started writing down all the trivial little things he does for me, helping to stay my mind on Him.
There has been one odd development, though. I read Desire by John Eldredge, a great read for anybody. It’s a book about unearthing the good and Godly desires in our hearts, accepting them, and tuning them. Over a few select chapters, Eldredge talks about heaven, about our yearning for it. He quotes Romans 8 about how all creation is “eagerly waiting” and “groaning as in birth pangs” from the damage done to it in the Fall.
We, too, are that creation. Day 6, remember?
God awakened an unusual desire in me. I was reading the book to try and figure out my own heart (ironic, that) and know where to set my aim on this Earth. God gently nudged me a little higher. He gave me a yearning for Home.
Desire painted a rather beautiful picture of Heaven. We think it’s all halos and harps, but those are churchy myths with no Biblical basis. The real heaven is “All things made new” (Rev 21:5). It is the return to Eden. It’s the Earth as it was mean to be, with all the sin and brokenness burned away (Rev 21:1). There is no sin and thus no death, no pain, no sorrow because there is no separation from God himself.
It’s a place to see everything in its true glory. The trees, the rocks, the skies, and most of all, the people. This world is just a shadow of what it should have been, and Heaven is the restoration and glorification of everyone and everything that belongs to God. It’s the place for which we were truly made, for though our bodies can die, our souls cannot. The bodies belong to the old Earth (this one) and they burn up together, but our spirits, eternal, belong to the New Earth, which is eternal as well.
At the time I was discovering this, my wife and I were reading the Chronicles of Narnia and we just wrapped up the final book, The Last Battle on Sunday. After all the destruction and chaos that destroys Narnia, Aslan takes everybody into a strange new world where everything is familiar, yet new. And then there was this beautiful passage, which, even now brings tears to my eyes.
It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it til now. This is the reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.”
Home. My country. The place for which I was made, when all that God made me radiates through my entire being with nothing else in the way. The place I was always meant to reside, for this Earth is only temporary, a preparation for the true Home.
I wait. I ache. I groan. I pine. I yearn. I long. I desire. I burn inside and weep for my true home. My only solace is that every day here is one step closer to that glorious end. Paul said it right in Romans when he compared it to a woman in birth pains. It’s agony to go carry around this moral coil, but with every contraction, the baby comes closer, and at last with one final push, the delivery comes, and the joy with it.
The only way to end now is how C.S. Lewis ended it with the last words of his last book, beginning with Aslan’s final promise.
“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.