In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Most people, if they really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise…if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Have you noticed that when you go through rough times, heaven becomes more inviting?
I remember hearing my mom talk about looking forward to heaven. I thought it was because she was old and had stopped having fun in life. Talking about Jesus coming back or how dying is hard only for those left behind — but not for the person that was lost — was kinda freaky to me. I didn’t want Jesus to come back until I was married…had kids…enjoyed life more!
Over the past several years I’ve walked through some hard times. Nothing life-threatening, and certainly nowhere near the level of suffering of others I know. These trials have tutored me in several ways (more on that another time). Recently, the Lord has been showing me that one thing suffering does is reveal the longing for heaven that I heard from and saw in my mother.
I think part of this longing comes from realizing that Lewis was right. A suffering-free life would tempt me to believe that this world can satisfy.
One of my favorite songs over the past year is called “Blessings” by Laura Story. It ends with these words:
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
And what if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?
You and I were made for another world: a world where our greatest longings will all be fulfilled.
What is going on in your life currently that is tempting you to be discouraged? Could the Lord be using the daily grind and fatigue of caring for a new baby to gently warn you not to find your identity in motherhood alone? What if the challenges you are facing at work are revealing a hidden root of selfish ambition that could mean you think your job title or salary define your worth? Or what if the perplexing difficulties you are walking through with friends in your church are intended by God to lovingly point you to the only One who won’t reject, leave or disappoint you?
Nothing or no one in this world can really satisfy. Our identity is in Christ…alone. And any struggle, disappointment, suffering or trial that comes that reveals “a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy” is a mercy. And the disguise isn’t as elusive to me now as it used to be.
I’m smiling…and realizing this is why Mom loved to talk about heaven.
P.S. Listen to “Blessings” here.
A few years ago, when our son was abusing drugs, I felt the way you describe in your blog. I also felt the same way when we have had financial struggles but God has helped us in all our struggles.