This month we asked Gavin to write our opening letter.
C.S. Lewis wrote 'If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most possible explanation is that we were made for another world'. This is a quote which I first heard during a talk at Newday last year and it is something which has stuck with me ever since. Why is it that nothing on earth can ever really satisfy us? Why is it that people search so many different places for meaning? Why is it that people generally seem to be unsettled in the world at the moment?
That is where this quote really speaks to me. Of course, nothing on this earth will ever be enough; we are designed for greater things. We are designed to be in God's presence, that is what the Bible describes in Genesis and the garden of Eden. When we come to that realisation about our true purpose, we start to realise that we shouldn't put our hope in the things of the world but instead we should anchor them in God, in His presence, in heaven. In Revelation it talks about a beautiful home where 'He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore'. The reality is that is what we are created for. That is our home.
At the moment it is really easy to feel out of place, really easy to feel like you don't belong here. Wherever you look at the moment, you can't help but see unrest in the world; people protesting against world leaders, politicians arguing about life changing decisions, hatred, suspicion, people just seem so disillusioned. Unfortunately, that is always going to happen when you put your trust in something (or perhaps someone) that isn't God. Eventually you will always end up disappointed. But if you lift your eyes up and realise that you were created for something much better, that changes everything!
I remember a few years ago all I wanted to do was pass my driving test. With each test I failed, it brought a great desire to pass the next one. I thought that when I passed my driving test that would be it, I would have made it! And then I passed. I realised I needed a car now, and that became my desire. 'If I save up a little bit more money I can have a car'. So eventually I got a car, and then I wanted a better one. My desire hadn't really been filled.
Now that is a silly example, but it is exactly how it is when we put our trust in the things of the world; they will never be enough, we will constantly be striving, constantly be looking for something else to achieve. We need to remember that we were created, as C.S Lewis put it, 'for another world' we should have desires for things of that world, we should strive for more, we should strive for God. Our desires should be for him first and foremost.
As Christians how should we respond to that? Well there are two main things to remember here. Firstly it should encourage us to put our trust and hope not in the things of the world but in God instead. Our first thought should always be to look to him, in good times and bad. We shouldn't let our attention and our desire be drawn to the things of the world, but seek God first and everything else second. Remember you are literally created to be in God's presence, so that should always be the place that you start.
Our second response should always be to look outwards. There are millions of people out there searching for 'a home', looking for somewhere to belong, looking for meaning in their lives. People will search in many places but eventually they will become disillusioned and begin searching again. It is our job to show them something different, it is our job to tell them about their real home, the home they were created for.
Have you ever had that Monday morning feeling walking to work thinking 'is this it?'. Imagine if this was it, if all we were created for was to go to work, earn money and have two days off at the end of the week, how depressing is that thought? It is our job as Christians to show others that there is more to life than that. Nothing in this world can satisfy because they were created for so much more.
We should be praying for this world as well, that God's Kingdom will come and that people will realise that He can fulfil their desires. Instead of getting disappointed with how things seem to be going in the world at the moment, we should pray, pray for breakthrough and pray with thankful hearts knowing that we are created for greater things, knowing that one day we will be in our 'home'.
If you are searching for a 'home' at the moment, look to God. If you feel assured that your home is in God's presence, if you appreciate that we are created for greater things, share this with others, let them know that they have a home. And if you feel disillusioned with the world at the moment, you are not powerless, you can pray!
It sounds too good to be true, but this has happened throughout history since the first church in Jerusalem was persecuted. Those scattered believers planted new churches in the places where they settled.
The age old question of whether Christmas gets earlier each year. Perhaps it points to something deeper than we think.