I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. Revelation 3:11-12.
It’s a very thin space between life and death, the finite and the infinite. Although Scriptures were written thousands of years ago, when today is placed adjacent to eternity, they might as well have been written yesterday. Anyone who experiences the loss of a loved one knows the thin, yet severe space that separates this life from the next. We press our ears against that wall and long to hear the heartbeat of our creator God and have his presence calm our aching hearts. We long for the day when all that is broken will be restored. Minutes become hours become days become years. Heartfelt longings persist and continue to remind us that this world is not our home.
Last weekend, I got a sense of that in a way I had not expected. I returned to my former home of twenty-five plus years. I had no idea that a place could have such a hold on me. As I drove along familiar country roads, my body remembered every curve, dip and rise of the hills. Years of driving these roads had worked an anticipation of the next view deep within: distant mountains, fields of frozen cornstalks, herds of dairy cows, creeks and woods. A bittersweet ache took hold of my heart. I was home and yet I was not.
Jesus understands our weary hunger for restoration, for home. He asks that we seize hold of what he has promised and not let go. When the pain is great, he reminds us that he is not far away. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He came to rescue the broken and exiled and bring us to the place of belonging, the city of God. This new Jerusalem is as real and firmer than the world we know today. Our yearning for home and knowing its reality can give us strength for today. By his loving grace, may God make us his people of hope.