It’s the place where floors creak when trampled on by kids’ feet, a steady rumble comes from the laundry room, the muffled sound of a base drum coming from the tiny space between the carpet and door to our son’s bedroom, silverware clinks on dishes, dog barks at a squirrel, the doorbell often rings, laughter and conversations flow.
Other times though there’s quietness. Piano music playing, the only sound is birds singing, fingers hitting the keyboard, the page of a book turning, a deep breath, whispers, silence.
Those quiet moments become little longings in a crazy-busy life. Those little longings can start to add up and when you look at your life, you realize they all connect to a deeper, one core heart-longing.
Don’t we all have longings?
Even back thousands of years ago, people had them. There were probably different physical longings in that day of age, yet at the core of all of our hearts is a longing for a forever and perfect home of security, love, peace and rest.
For generations, thousands of Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. And then God sent Moses, (one of my all time heroes) to help lead the people to freedom from bondage.
There during the burning bush experience, God told Moses to tell the enslaved Israelites that He said,
“I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites…a land flowing with milk and honey.” Exodus 3:17
Wasn’t God promising them a new home?
I can imagine the thoughts of the people when they heard that exciting news. They were dreaming of a land of milk and honey under the bright, blue sky. They would have big, big houses with lots and lots of room, a big table with lots and lots of food, and a big backyard where they could play football. It’s their longing coming true!
God promised to rescue them. He did.
God promised a way out for them. He did.
God continued to provided their needs even after He had already done such a mighty act to free them.
But then like every human in the history of mankind, the people began to grumble. They began to complain. They felt sorry for themselves because they had the same food everyday and it was too hot outside and their feet hurt. Then when none of that changed, they became angry and rebellious. With that came consequences…forty years of wandering.
On their journey, God had told them many times,
“I will free you from being slaves and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.” Exodus 6:5-7
God had to remind them His promise over and over on their journey to the Promised Land (sounds kind of familiar to me in my life). Yet, God allowed all of those long, never-ending days of waiting and being out of their comfort for a reason. God was working more in their hearts and forming their homes on the inside, not necessarily on the land outside. It took forty years until the people realized the true reason God rescued them.
God longed to redeem them.
I will redeem you, He says.
I will deliver you, He says.
Did you catch the promise? “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…”
God redeemed their story and he wants to redeem ours. Our stories of restlessness, sorrow, grief, war battles, and challenges are intertwined with some hope, joy and loving promises. God makes all of that into a beautiful story which is included in the Book in the Promised Land.
To cross that Jordan River into the Promised Land is waiting for me and is waiting for you. It’s all about coming home to the place where purpose, comfort and security are found…and felt...forever. That can only be found when we choose to rest in God’s outstretched arm.
So, I’m bound.
My life might feel like those forty years but I will not give up trying to get there.
“I long to see that happy place and be forever blessed; therefore, I’m bound for the Promised Land.”
(words from an old hymn that I’m going to share with you tomorrow that’s been revised…so good and a story with it!)
My longing is that I always want my longing and the character of God to intertwine.
What is your longing?
What is your story?
What is your promised land?