I'm one of those people who makes a habit of counting my blessings. Sometimes I am in awe of how fortunate I am. I have two great kids, who find me annoyingly cheerful, live in a nice house and love what I do for a living. Yet, more often than I like, I still find myself yearning for more. Sometimes, it is a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. Other times, my heart hurts. As a single mom, I am acutely aware of my lack of marital companionship. I am not above pointing out to God that He said in Genesis, "It is not good for man to be alone." I let him know that it's not good for woman to be alone, either! I get no sympathy from my married friends, however. They do not hesitate to list all of the pitfalls of being married. The ache isn't just about that, though. Whether it is relational, financial, vocational or even spiritual, satisfaction can be short-lived and elusive, even in the midst of abundance and thanksgiving.
Recently I was on my knees praying about this. I felt guilty that with all the ways that God has blessed me, I still can be acutely aware of lack. I apologized to God for this, and asked forgiveness. He didn't forgive me. Instead, in His grace, I felt as if Jesus put His arms around me from behind and said, "You're just aching for Eden."
Isn't it amazing that when God answers us, His response brings such peace? With that one sentence, I was both relieved and enlightened. It wasn't that the ache went away, but Jesus met me in it. Suddenly I understood. That ache is inherent in who we are. Eden was perfect. There was nothing missing. It was a righteous place. It was Heaven on Earth.
That's the environment we were created to live in. Eden was home, and it was full of harmony. Adam and Eve related with God face-to-face. They knew each other fully, and loved each other anyway. They lived in complete satisfaction. When they got hungry, they could be completely satisfied with their meal. When they wanted companionship, they had God, each other, and the animals. When they wanted quiet, there were no tricked out vehicles blaring tasteless excuses for songs. When they did want music, they had songbirds—maybe even angel song. Who wouldn't miss that?
When our first parents invited sin in, sin took over and kicked them out. We lost the home we were created for. It was a devastating foreclosure. We still feel the echo of that pain. We still miss that home, and there's nothing wrong with missing home. In fact, there is something inherently right with it. It means we have hearts. It means we love.
I—we—don't need to feel guilty for wanting things to be as they were meant to be. No, that doesn't mean that I get to complain or to be ungrateful for what I do have. I am incredibly blessed and very thankful for those blessings. I am also eagerly looking forward to the new home that Jesus is preparing for all of us. It's just that now I understand why, even in the midst of abundance, I still can feel a lack. I'm just missing home. I'm just aching for Eden.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. –Matthew 5:6