God has a secret. It’s a secret written into the core of our beings from the moment we are conceived. It’s a secret meant to draw us into the very heart of our maker. It’s a secret that cries out about who we are and what we were made for.
My favourite place in the whole world is a small national park on a rugged stretch of South Australian coast. There’s a walk there, a winding path which runs down a wooded hillside and out onto yellow cliffs scoured bare by gales blasting off South Pole icebergs. The sea roars against those cliffs down below your feet. The sky is stretched endless deep blue above. The sea glitters away as if forever to the horizon and Antarctica. When I stand on those cliffs the secret that’s written on my heart cries out. It cries out as an ache deep in my heart. It’s a haunting loneliness and a raging desire. It’s a longing for something that, until I searched it out, I did not understand. Whether we like to admit it or not this longing is in all of us and it will not be silenced or satisfied by anything this world has to offer. We all know it if we will but dial down our many thoughts and sit still long enough to let it be heard. This cry whispers to us in our joy, it calls to us through our consciences and screams in our pains. This cry is awakened by beauty because beauty reminds us that we were meant to be satisfied by that which is the definition of beauty itself. This longing causes us to perpetually feel that life is better on the other side of the circumstantial fence. Every now and then the stars align in our circumstances and the clouds clear in our minds just long enough to feel as though we might have just arrived at the source of our ache. These moments always come unexpectedly. They might creep up on you while you’re standing on the beach at sunset with one you love. It could be a holiday or a family reunion. In those fleeting moments of love and beauty, it feels like we can almost reach out and touch the source of our longing, finally obtain the life that we prize. But it’s always only an almost. The feeling fades so quickly and we are left empty and the ache cries out even louder than before. Do you know why that happens? God is wooing us, calling us deeper.
King Solomon knew of this ache when he wrote in Ecclesiastes, “…God has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” The truth is that every human being was made to be with God. We were made to sit with Jesus on His throne, to judge angels and rule the created universe. We were made to feel God’s delight and pleasure over us and to know Him and be perfectly known. The truth is that there is a day coming when our longing will be fulfilled.
In the gospels, the apostle John recorded the promise of Jesus to take us to a place where our longings would be satisfied. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3). In the book of Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of these mansions in a city made of gold and called by God the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21, 22). The New Jerusalem is the city in which we will live with God for eternity. It is our home, it is where we truly belong. That’s one thing the longing in our hearts is telling us.