“We pilgrims walk the tightrope between earth and heaven, feeling trapped in time, yet with eternity beating in our hearts. Our unsatisfied sense of exile is not to be solved or fixed while here on earth. Our pain and longings make sure we will never be content, and that’s good; it is to our benefit that we do not grow comfortable in a world destined for decay.” (Joni Eareckson Tada)
When life’s details unsettle me; when a day’s circumstances won’t line up neatly and nicely; when I can’t seem to trap, and cocoon, and keep under my careful control that longed-for sense of care-free-ness I so desire: It’s then that I must remember Joni’s words.
When I find myself longing for the causes of unsettled feelings to disappear and for carefree moments to multiply, I have to remember that a day’s circumstances aren’t meant to be fully fixed here on earth. Our pain and longings have purpose:
We aren’t meant to be content and comfortable and carefree in a world destined for decay.
For the Christian pilgrim, headed toward the new heavens and the new earth, the unsatisfied sense of unsettledness, of un-care-free-ness is a purposeful reminder. We’re pointed to the life to come. Unsettled days don’t have to be feared. They’re gifts. They’re given to awaken within us the thought that we must pry our hands from the cocoon of carefree comfort we’re trying to spin.
They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.