My husband, son, and I visit India every other year so that we don’t spend all our summers abroad. Preparation for our visits is exciting, and usually involves a lot of shopping and packing. Flights are booked about six months in advance, which is when I start mentally packing my first suitcase. I also bring out my extra-large suitcases from storage and begin physically accumulating things I want to take to India.
I buy goodies that I know my family and friends enjoy, from Hershey’s kisses, assorted bags of candy, all sorts of cookies from Trader Joe’s to healthy granola bars.
Two months prior to boarding the flight, I ask my parents, sister, and close friends for their wish lists. Shopping for our Indian family and friends is a huge part of our preparation.
A surge of excitement marks the days and weeks leading up to my departure from America. I alternate between superwoman-like productive days and several lazy hours daydreaming about my trip to India.
My mind gets cramped with mental lists. I make a list of places I want to visit, people I want to spend time with, things I want to buy, and food I want to eat.
Excited and eager anticipation mark the days leading up to my journey home.
(The above section contains excerpts from Far from Home: Discovering Your Identity as Foreigners on Earth.)
The New Testament talks about a different kind of anticipation–“eagerly waiting:”
“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:23-25 NIV
“Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” 1 Corinthians 1:7 NIV
“For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” Galatians 5:5 NIV
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 NIV
“…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:28 NIV.
Like a soldier in the battlefield waiting to go home, like an immigrant longing to be reunited with loved ones, followers of Jesus pine for His return to establish a new heaven and new earth.
We can look forward to that day when we will dwell with God in our perfect and permanent home. With resurrected bodies, we will share in Christ’s glory and reign with Him. Satan will be exterminated and sin and suffering will cease to exist.
This longing manifests itself through our preparation and readiness for Jesus’ return.
Our entire lives, in essence, are supposed to be spent preparing for eternity. Heaven is supposed to be on our minds always.
We cannot simply daydream about heaven and go about living our lives however we want.
To eagerly wait is to actively wait.
It means we allow heaven to shape our thoughts and dictate our actions. It means we live in the here and now but with a consciousness of the impact of our actions for eternity. It means we fix our eyes on the kingdom of God and seek His righteousness.
We can use our time and resources on earth to get ready to meet our Savior. We can keep our lamps burning and our lights shining bright. This is how we can eagerly wait to go home.
The excitement preceding my visits to India remind me to prepare myself to see Jesus face to face in heaven.
The blessed hope and assurance of my future home motivates me to pursue holiness and endure suffering with joy and purpose. To sacrifice my will and desires for the sake of God’s plans and purposes.
The longing and the waiting are worth it. Both now and later. Because they not only render our earthly journey purposeful, productive, and joyful but also will make our rendezvous with our Lord and King even more impressive and sweeter.
Are you eagerly waiting for your future home? How are you preparing yourself to meet your Savior?