Sometimes doing mental health work I get stuck in my office for periods of time doing various sundry tasks. So I look forward to trips into the community to visit clients and employers where I can get out of my stuffy office and see the countryside.
I enjoy looking at the valleys and hillsides, the wooded areas, the ponds, and the streams. I sometimes have the urge to go on a back road, park my car, and take a walk deep into the woods to enjoy God’s creation. I then come back to my senses and know that I’m on the clock and need to stay focused on accomplishing my work. I’m relegated to only take longing glances from my car.
The same thing happens when I watch videos of faraway places, especially mountains, and even more particularly the Alps Mountains of Europe. I grew up with Mennonite/Amish/Anabaptist roots, so perhaps my attraction to these majestic peaks and valleys is due to the fact that my ancestors started out there.
When Rick Steves Europe on the PBS channel focuses on the mountains of Austria or Switzerland I become totally mesmerized and long for the day when I might be able to visit there. I long to breathe the crisp clean air, and view with wonder the sparkling brooks and waterfalls. I again come back to my senses and think that at my age and with my resources a trip there is likely impossible. All I can do is dream and take longing glances from afar.
I think that life is full of a series of longings and dreams to visit and view scenic and almost unfathomable majestic sights. For some of us our dreams will be fulfilled, but for many of us the barriers are just too great.
Where does this longing come from? Why do we even think about things that seem unreachable?
I think I have the answer. God has put this longing into our souls. He realizes that it is natural for us to crave beauty and majesty, and that to do so draw us closer to Him.
Hebrews 11:13-16 sums it up best:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
Revelation 21 says that the streets and walls of this city will be made of pure gold and the gates of solid precious stones. John in Revelation 22:1-2 goes on to share what will fulfill our longing:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.”
So here on this earth we may have to settle for taking "longing glances" from our car, or from afar, but someday...
See you next time.