Something God has been teaching me in this season is that there is no “perfect”. Of course, I knew that theoretically. I didn’t expect things to be truly perfect. But I wanted things to be really good. You know what I mean? I might not have a perfect house, but can’t I have a nice pinteresty one? Pretty please? My body won’t ever be perfect, but can’t I have a really toned one? I won’t be a perfect Christian, but can’t I be the extra spiritual kind?
What God has been teaching me is that I’m looking for a place for my restless heart to find peace. My soul is constantly faced with the tensions of living in a sin-sick world where things agitate my heart. Everywhere I turn, good things that seem so close to fulfilling but fall just short. I feel like peace and rest are just around the corner, if I can just take care of the problem ahead of me.
But C.S. Lewis says, ”If we find in ourselves a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
This world is good. It was created by my good Father to reflect His beauty, creativity, artistry, and sense of humor. But it isn’t going to fulfill that ache in my heart. Only Jesus can do that. And my heart will never feel at peace until Jesus comes back and makes this a new earth, full of Himself. Sometimes when people talk about the world not being our home, they have an underlying attitude of pessimism and pietism (a belief that the physical world is bad and opposed to the spiritual world). They are joyless Christians who try to somehow find pleasure in the pain and brokenness of the world. “Oh well,” they quip, “I’m better than I deserve. It’s okay that my life is terrible. After all, this world isn’t our home.”
I think my longing for “perfect” has in many ways been a reaction against this kind of Christianity that ignores the goodness of the image of God in people, the beauty of creation, and the artistry we can enjoy in God’s good gifts to us.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a hipster coffee shop in downtown Ghent. I just finished enjoying a lox bagel. On the menu, they have fun things like turmeric maple cinnamon lattes. I also find joy in seeing what crazy new kombucha flavor the kombucha wizards have most recently come up with. Or ice cream shops with black pepper ice cream. (I just realized all my examples had to do with food… sorry if I made you hungry. I’m in my third trimester. I can’t help it.)
In my quest to enjoy the good gifts God has given me, in some ways, I’ve forgotten that Jesus is the only thing that can fulfill that angst in my heart and I’m not going to feel that peace I’m looking for until we are united in a new heavens and a new earth. God’s gifts are good, and I’m going to enjoy them. But I’m also going to allow the incompleteness of fulfillment point me forward to the day when Jesus makes everything new.