Reading Tim Keller’s book ‘The Prodigal God’ has really awakened me to some errors in my own life.

I was reading chapter 6 ‘Redefining Hope’ and Keller starts talking about home. He notes how we often have a longing for a ‘moment’ or a memory of something, and we think that in that thing we will find what our hearts long for.

I experienced this for many years as a child with my birthday. My birthday for me was a day I always looked forward to, a special day that was meant to be unlike any other. And so when that day came each year I would want to make the most of every second of every minute of that day. I would live it intensely wanting to soak up every experience.

But it always, ultimately disappointed. Sure the parties were fun as a child, the presents were nice. But it was always over too soon and then I’d have another year to wait for that next glimpse of what I longed would be there.

Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences with other things.

Keller says this:

“The memory of home seems to be powerfully evoked by certain sights, sounds and even smells. But they can only arouse a desire they can’t fulfill. Many people have shared with me how disappointing Christmas and Thanksgiving are to them. They prepare for holidays hoping that, finally this year, the gathering of the family at that important place will deliver the experience of warmth, joy, comfort and love that they want from it. But these events almost always fail, crushed under the weight of our impossible expectations.” p92-93

This is what C.S. Lewis has to say on the subject.

“Our life-long nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.” p.94-95

We feel a home-sickness. We may locate home in various places and things, but there is a deep longing that seems insatiable.

It may be that you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that Christmas, or your birthday, or time with your family will never satisfy. And you leave it at that.

But what Lewis is saying is that you shouldn’t leave it at that, but nor should you keep seeking that ‘reuniting’ in those things. Rather the longing you feel for that moment in these things is in fact a longing for your true home – with God and his people. These longings find their fulfillment as we find our home with God through Jesus.

It struck me that I now try and locate this ‘home’ often in my music. Sometimes gigs go really well. And when they do its amazing. When the band is working well together, everyone’s hitting the right notes, there’s an easy flow to the music, and suddenly you start going off in directions you’ve not gone before. The solo’s flow effortlessly and tunefully. It’s exciting, exhilarating.

And when we’ve finished, I want to do it all over again.
I want to get that ‘feeling’ of togetherness, of wholeness.
But inevitably, the next gig will not deliver. Even if it is good, it’s all too short.

But what I’m doing is mistaking the glimpse for the reality. When I want to recapture that moment of togetherness we might have at a gig, what I’m trying to do is find the destination in the sign-post.

They are not the reality. Those moments are merely a glimpse of the reality. A glimpse of where everything will be completed, when heaven meets earth and God dwells with his people. That is what those gigs, those Christmas times, those birthdays, our families are all pointing to.

So by all means enjoy those moments. But enjoy them all the more for what they point to, and find the fulfillment there, in Jesus.