Hey everybody! I’ve once again hijacked Dan’s blog. Last week Dan was in Toronto. This week he and Roi Lene are unpacking boxes as they settle into their new house. At the same time, my wife and I are packing up boxes back in Michigan. However, we don’t know yet where their ultimate destination will be. We’re still house hunting and so our belongings will need to settle into a storage unit for a (hopefully) short period of time. Neither of us has “settled.”
We don’t yet know exactly where we will end up; only that God has called us to this area and to this church. Admittedly, this creates a certain degree anxiety and stress; all we can do is pray, hope and trust God with the details. I’m sure Abraham could relate. Hebrews 11 says that when Abraham was called to go to the Promised Land, he “obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Did you catch that? Going without knowing. It’s total foolishness in the eyes of our culture. Abraham left behind the people he had built his life on. Abraham left behind the place he had built all of his wealth. But God required Abraham to have faith that he would provide, not only for his family but also give direction to his life.
The author of Hebrews doesn’t stop there, but takes a spiritual turn. It says that Abraham was “still living by faith when he died. He did not receive the things promised; he only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers here on earth.” What’s going on here? Abraham arrived in the land he was promised and gave birth to the long awaited son, so why was he still living by faith? Why does it say that he did not receive the things promised? Let’s keep going: “They were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
The word “longing” is a powerful one. It seems that Abraham longed for more than land. He longed for more than descendants. Even though land and descendants are something God gave Abraham, he longed for something greater! He longed for what the New Testament calls the Kingdom of God. The most powerful bit about this kingdom is that God calls us “his.”
I find myself longing for money, stuff, gadgets, success and (especially now) a nice house. But the Bible here teaches not to settle for those sorts of things. It points us to something (or more specifically: someone) that will give us pure joy and perfect peace.
CS Lewis puts it this way “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”