“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C.S. Lewis
Not the world I hope for
Everyday news reminds me that this world isn’t what I want it to be. When I reflect on my life, I am not who I want to be. Why do I feel like this world constantly falls short of what I hope it to be? Why does it feel like nothing in this world can fully satisfy my desires?
Don’t get me wrong, there are many good things that I experience in my life, but I always find myself longing to make good memories last longer. Most of all, I desperately want a world that’s good: free of evil, suffering, and death.
Where do my longings come from?
I am discovering that my longings for another world aren’t just wishful thoughts, nor are they the result of an overactive mind imagining a preferred world. My longings are deeply rooted in an ancient memory of a world that was lost – the garden of Eden.
Living outside the garden, I can only imagine what Eden was like. I imagine how everything needed to support flourishing life was present there. Eden was made for me. I would have fit in perfectly; it would have fit me perfectly.
Although I’ve never lived in Eden, my hidden memory of it is still very much alive and informing my desires for what I want the world to be. This is the reason why evil, suffering, and death feel like unwanted intruders, threatening all that is good and dear to me.
Eden was the perfect home I lost and now long for.
A world never able to fully satisfy
When I compare the realities of this current world to my memory of Eden, I grieve the loss of the good that could have been. At times I feel despair when I see evil, suffering, and death wreak havoc. I get frustrated with the consequences of life outside the garden.
This evil invasion is why my expectations can never fully be met in this present world. The perfect environment that would have supported my complete flourishing was compromised and corrupted. I grieve my lost home.
For these reasons I can never put my hope in this world to meet all my desires. Any taste of Eden is momentary and only fulfills for a short time. This is why I long for another world; but Eden is closed to me. Am I resigned to live with failed expectations indefinitely?
Jesus also longs for another world
But I am reminded that Jesus had reason to long for another world more than I ever will. Even at his birth, there was no place for him. In his infancy a jealous king was hell-bent on killing him. Herod considered him a threat to his throne, driving Jesus’ family into exile.
His family misunderstood him and his hometown tried to throw him off a cliff. Jesus said he had no place to call home. The religious leaders were hell-bent to crucify him and for fear the political leaders acquiesced. He endured the anguish of his trial, flogging, and crucifixion.
Even more disturbing was the spiritual agony on the cross. Jesus absorbed an eternity of evil, suffering, and death into his body and soul. The door to heaven was slammed shut and he was cut off from God’s presence. He was plunged into utter darkness-an ultimate exile.
Did anyone long for another world more than Jesus? Out of the dark abyss Jesus accomplished the greatest feat in the cosmos. He opened the door back to Eden. Now I have hope of living in a future world that is only good, one that will fully meet all my desires.
Glimpses into Eden
Just as my longings for another world have their roots in ancient history, my future hopes are anchored in the prophetic promises of Jesus. All of my unmet longings in this present world will be met in a restored Eden.
“For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.” C.S. Lewis