I don’t have to prove to you that the world we live in is unsettled. You breathe it, too. Our human kitchen is a mess, with eggshells, splatters, and stickiness everywhere. The sink is overloaded with crusted pots and bowls.
It is hard to live like this. Stress and churning grow. We live in a time of roiling seas, peppered with whitecap waves. We were raised to believe we could sail any sea, but–if we are honest–we hunger for still waters. This stillness is what the Jews call “shalom”–a word which means peace but dives much deeper, into a sense of deep abiding wholeness and rest.
I think we are longing for a touch of eternity.
Christian author C.S. Lewis says it simply:
“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.”
As C.S. Lewis noted, we were made for another world. We read about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Hebrews 11:9-10) living as strangers in tents in the “promised land.” Notice that even though God had brought them to the land of Israel, they hungered for another place. A “city” built by God himself.
“By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read this:
“He has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
The peace of eternity is planted deep in our hearts. We were made for more. And yet we don’t really understand or fathom the long view, the seed of shalom inside us. One planted by a God who has a plan and a place. Instead of looking upward and forward, we try to perfect our own “here-and-now” recipe, until, like a baker forever trying to discover a perfect batter, we churn, and churn, and churn.
Only a God of Shalom, a Prince of Peace, will ever satisfy. Look up. Settle down. Rest. The great poet William Wordsworth understood.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere in its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of Glory do we come
From God, who is our home.