"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Monday, June 20, 2011

Loving this world as the one I long for

I have spent a beautiful day today. I spent time with my horse, I spent beautiful time with the Lord, I read, I rested, I worked, I wrote a great deal. Those things—writing, reading, horsemanship, people—they are wonderful to me, they give me maia. But more than that, through the truth given me in Transformed Into Fire, I feel so much more alive, so much more free—life is so much more wonderful in Jesus than I ever knew possible.

And I know that, because I was reading a good book just now. Every other time, when I am in a wonderful book, when I “snap out of it” and come back to reality, there has been a small sinking feeling inside me. I don’t want to go back to my “normal” life. It is too unfulfilling, too lacking; there is the sense I am not where I am supposed to be. It is disappointing, and, to be truly honest, I wish that I had not left my reading so that I could escape the nagging disappointment of this world just a little longer.
But this time, when I came out of my book, it was a perfectly smooth transition. There was no “drop,” no check of coming back to reality, no sadness of leaving a better world for a worse one. This was the better world, this was as wonderful, peaceful, restful, and fulfilling as that other world the book brought me to. I am beloved, I am at rest, I am home in Christ.

There is the longing for another world that is the longing for heaven, for a sinless land, and that will be there until time comes to an end; that longing is a beautiful, true one that makes me even more present to this world, not less. But there is a longing for another world that is not right and shows me that I am not living as God intended. It is the longing where this world is disappointing, where I secretly want to escape from it, in a book, perhaps, so that I can get a taste of living somewhere else that is a better place. If the latter is true, then I am not living how God intended. David knew this; Psalm 66 is just one example:

1 Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
    2 Sing about the glory of his name!
      Tell the world how glorious he is.
 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
      Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
 4 Everything on earth will worship you;
      they will sing your praises,
      shouting your name in glorious songs.”                    

 5 Come and see what our God has done,
      what awesome miracles he performs for people!
... 19 But God did listen!
      He paid attention to my prayer.
 20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
      or withdraw his unfailing love from me.

So that is, perhaps, one way I can know whether I am living in maia, in rest, and in belovedness.
It is when this life is the life that I long for.