When I was a little girl in Kansas, a tornado came through my neighborhood. I ran home with my feet barely touching the ground as the wind tried to suck me to its center. When I finally made it to our front door, my mom reached out her hand and pulled me into our house. My body flew horizontally, and I dove into the entryway like a bird. I’ll never forget the day that I walked the earth with constant pull of nature drawing me away from my reality.
As we walk the path of our existence, I wonder if our spirits are not continuously drawn toward eternity. We wear our flesh, think with our minds and live through our souls (personalities), but our spirits are not temporal. We were created in God who is everlasting. Though we have a starting point at Creation (unlike God who has always been), we do not have a ending point (John 3.16) — we continue after these bodies die and this world wears out (Isaiah 51.6). We will be given new bodies and a New Earth (Revelation 21.1 & Philippians 3.21). We walk into our real Promise Land and live out our true purpose in heaven*.
As I live the quickly turning pages in the current chapter of my life, I battle the pull of God’s gravity toward what is real. I know this temporary life has purpose, and I appreciate all that God is doing, but I have a strong sense that this is only a shadow or a whisper of what’s to come (Psalm 144.4). God is so imaginative and so awesome that He doesn’t waste one second of my life to indifferent coincidence. When I look closely, God is weaving the details of all existence into an eternal picture that overshadows the physical world. But I notice that I often distract myself from watching the beautiful story unfold because perhaps I fear the full knowledge of my displacement.
How did Jesus handle it? He has no starting point: He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22.13). He gave up His glory (Philippians 2.7 & John 17.5), became flesh (John 1.14) and took our sins (1 Peter 2.24), so that we could live our eternal existence in the amazing presence of our Creator. How could He live in a world corrupted by sin knowing His perfect home and throne were waiting for Him just over the physical horizon? Everything in Him was drawn to the Father, yet He rooted His feet on this earth because of His intense love for us, His beloved creation.
I wonder if Jesus slipped away to solitary places so often because He too was homesick. When the longing for home intensified, He prayed to His Father and found refreshment in His Spirit. I think that many times when we get homesick, we try to distract ourselves with things that don’t sedate our desire for heaven. We’ll waste hours upon hours on trivial things, hoping that our homesickness fades. But the time, money and energy we’ve use up only leave us empty.
I’m determined that when my spirit becomes restless that instead of desperately diverting my attention from what’s really bothering me, I can go to the Father and have Him fill me with His peace, purpose and presence. My spirit longs for God. His presence is what continually draws me to eternity. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross enabled the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of me. If I would simply slip away to spend time with Him every day, I wouldn’t be homesick because God is my home.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5.1-5 NLT).
* Our purpose in heaven can be illustrated by Jesus’ parable of the good and faithful servant. When he was faithful with the gifts God gave him on earth, God gave Him greater responsibility (purpose) in heaven (Matthew 25.14-28).