I was trying to sort out a silly little problem this morning—the sort of annoying problem that we only have because we live in a fallen world. The thought came to me afterwards, “How nice it would be to live in a world of just Christians” (where, one would hope, such issues as the one I was trying to sort out would be unnecessary). Then, the Ghost of Christians Past gave my shoulder a gentle tap and I had to smile ironically in response. Ha! Scratch that.
“How about a world of just Christians I like?” was my next thought.
That would, I grant, be an improvement. Me and just the people I like? Sign me up.
I didn’t take that train of thought much further, but I didn’t have to go all the way down the track to know that it, too, was fundamentally flawed. Even the people I love aren’t perfect. (And even if they were, the person I’m the closest to—me—isn’t.)
But, then the idea of home—our real home—longing for home—sprung to my mind. Where had I been reading something about that recently? I scanned the books in my room, and found a highly likely suspect: Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God, which I read earlier this month.
Ah yes…. The chapter on “Our Longing for Home”.
“Home, then, is a powerful but elusive concept. The strong feelings that surround it reveal some deep longing within us for a place that absolutely fits and suits us, where we can be, or perhaps find, our true selves. Yet it seems that no real place or actual family ever satisfies these yearnings, though many situations arouse them.”
“There seems to be a sense, then, in which we are all like the younger brother. We are all exiles, always longing for home. We are always traveling, never arriving. The houses and families we actually inhabit are only inns along the way, but they aren’t home. Home continues to evade us.”
Because we “turned away” from God at the Fall, Keller goes on to say, we were exiled and “we have been wandering as spiritual exiles ever since. That is, we have been living in a world that no longer fits our deepest longings”.
At the end of time, however….
“Jesus will make the world our perfect home again. We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’ always wandering and never arriving. We will come, and the father will meet us and embrace us, and we will be brought into the feast.”
The frustrations of living in a fallen world will be no more—even the ones I’ve experienced in a pretty average week, such as this one. Things like worry, friction in relationships, the discouragement of having to re-work an assignment, the aches of a body that is liable to pain, the falling into and the jumping into sin.
All gone—and not just for me, but for everyone who is there. We will be Home.
I will get to live in a world just of Christians.
And—whatever the difficulties in the here and now—I’ll like them all.