A Word for the Groaning Souls
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:22-25, ESV)
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I was not made for here. I first heard this incredibly personal lyric on an old Brooke Fraser (now Ligertwood) CD when I was 12 years old. I remember hearing the rest of the song and feeling understood in a way I never anticipated before. Suddenly, something deep inside me felt seen and spoken for as I hungrily listened. The statement behind the lyrics comes from C.S. Lewis, the man this song is named after. His version goes a little like this: “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.”
He’s not talking about aliens or mythical creatures. He’s talking about followers of Christ. What an astoundingly comforting truth. If I have a desire burning in my heart that doesn’t make sense, cannot be understood by human knowledge, and cannot be satisfied by any earthly means, then the only answer is that I was not created for this world. Now, don’t get it twisted. The only desire Lewis is talking about is the desire to please, love, and intimately know God. How do I know? Because he specifically says that this world cannot satisfy these desires. It’s no secret that this world was claimed by sinful nature since Adam and Eve, therefore, this world sets the stage for any and all sin-sick desire to be fulfilled.
Instead, if we hold a desire within us that must be patiently hoped for until we reach the other side of eternity, we can only conclude that we were not created for here, but rather, for what comes next. This place, this world, this body is temporary. That desire inside me– inside you– can only be fulfilled and fully understood in the world for which we were destined. It’s something we wait our whole lives to realize in full and rest in. It is a desire that exercises patience within us, a patience tempered and worked for.
Until then, our Holy Spirit-filled souls, along with the rest of creation, sighs and groans inwardly as we await the day our Hope, Jesus Christ, steals us away to give us the home and body we were always intentioned to have.
“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stop-over in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” (2 Corinthians 5: 1-5, MSG)
Let’s put it this way: Our God has so much power and ability, and His one desire for us is that we would get to experience Him and His creation in the way He meant for us to experience it. So much so, that He would not only put a desire innately within us to share that with Him but also use that power to give us new bodies after death with which to better discover that. But we will never be able to feel or understand that until we die and move on to the world that we were always created to live in.
In John 11, we see how Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. This event is often seen as a precursor to the resurrection of Christ, but there is one significant difference between the two events. Lazarus was brought back to life, meaning he was restored to his former body, health, and form. Of course, this is a feat in and of itself, but Lazarus’ container– his body– was the same body that he always knew and was limited by.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He was resurrected, meaning the body He had after he left the grave was the container we are to receive in Heaven. Lazarus’ revival, although a miracle, did not exempt him from dying again. His coming back from the dead was only an extension to his inevitable second death. Jesus only knew death once, and His power was so incredible, that He was able to slip between Heaven and Earth for 40 days, free from the threshold of death. Lazarus had to re-submit to the constraints of this world, but Jesus was able to walk fully in the glory of the power of the resurrection.
Lazarus’ miracle gave us a little preview of the wonder that was to come in Christ’s resurrection. It shows us the power of our God and His wisdom to keep His intentions for us safely on the other side of this race. Jesus’ resurrection shows not only His great love for us but also what we have to look forward to: a Heavenly body with its full ability and beauty. It shows us what we have to look forward to when we finally get to have full communion with Jesus and gives us inspiration to never, ever settle for less than the holy inheritance God wants to give us. An inheritance that is guaranteed to us by the Holy Spirit that we keep inside these temporary homes.
So this one goes out to anyone who has ever felt like this world has never fit right; for the ones that always feel just a little bit out of place and holding on to Hope that can never be satisfied here. If you groan, if you sigh, for the wonder and awesome promises that the Bible so painstakingly details for us, then allow me to strengthen your patience today.
You are not created for this world. The flesh you fight is light and momentary. You are destined to live fully in God’s love, and there is a day that will come that you will get to experience the way He always wanted you to. But for now, there is still work to be done, and I am praying that the Lord will show you what’s next for you. There is more, there is better, and there is hope. Just keep holding on and standing in His promises.
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