Then we moved in. I tend to fix my vision on a momentous point in time and get disappointed afterwards that everything didn't resolve the way I thought it would. I KNEW my tendency to think something like a move into a new house would solve various problems, and I prepared myself not to do that this time. Yet, here I am on the other side of it, and sure enough, I have problems. I feel as unsettled in my “home” as ever. And instead of feeling prepared because, of course, I knew this wouldn't solve life's struggles, I'm sick with longing to move back into the house we had.
Sarah Groves has a song about “painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacked.” Like the Israelites, it's easy to look back at what I had, forgetting the real reasons we had for moving. The funny thing about the Israelites is that, in Egypt, they were SLAVES. Yet once they were actually free, the regular food they received in bondage seemed better than freedom in the wilderness.
Not only am I discontent, I'm discontent with something that really is very nice. I'm thankful for friends who let me unload on them without making me feel like a whiner, but I have many loved ones around me struggling with real things—critically sick children, bankruptcy, spouses leaving the faith. And I feel very guilty that I'm struggling with such a lesser burden. I keep reminding myself that it could be so much worse. “Be thankful. Look around at what you DO have!” But guilt doesn't help me at all. I can't say it enough--guilt doesn't help me resolve this in my heart AT ALL.
The truth is that the Israelites, even after they were freed from Egypt, STILL weren't in the promised land. They were still sojourners, trekking through the wilderness. That's the principle that seems to draw me back to emotional stability and endurance. I am discontent because this world is not my home. Not my old house. Not my new house. And not that other house that I thought was so peaceful and inviting that didn't work out either. I am longing for something more than any house could possibly give me. I'm longing for peace. And security. For stressless relationships. To be with the One I love and Who loves me. I'm longing for sunshine and provision. For joy and REST.
I know where this is found. I wrote about John 6 here. Jesus says there,
54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.
I long for true food and true drink, for true satisfaction and true rest. I long for true HOME. It's the already, but not yet aspect of the Kingdom of God. Jesus has come, and in this very moment, I can feast on Him and LIVE. I am already seated with Him in the heavenly places, my permanent, peaceful home. Yet, I still live here on earth in a tent. I don't see Him face-to-face as I type these words.
The solution to my discontent is to embrace the tension. This world is not my home, and I am seated with Him in the heavenly realm. He is my manna in the wilderness, and I feast on Him through prayer and Bible study. I can then receive from this earthly home what it can provide and not look to it to provide what it can not. Only then do the seeds of peace and rest start to bloom in my heart.
Guilt did nothing for me. Meditating on Christ did.