"They were longing for a better country."
Those are the words that sparked my heart last week when I came across them on Noisetrade.com in the title of singer/songwriter Zach Winters' album.
These words from Hebrews 11:16 draw me in because I understand. The great people of the Bible had their hearts set on something bigger and deeper than anything this world could give them. They became wanderers and foreigners because they couldn't deny any longer that their hearts could never be satisfied with the world.
They were willing to put their faith in the God who promised to be faithful. Their longings could only be satisfied by him. These people were longing for something better, for something more, for something holy. I'm longing for that, too.
Some longings break me open, making me aware of a deep chasm of want inside me that hurts and cries out to be filled. All I can do is hold it out to God and feel it. The things that make me feel this way are the holiest parts of me, God's whisper asking me to lean in close so I can understand what he created me for and that it is him that fulfills all my longings.
He is the better country I am longing for, and he wants to work through me, through the deepest, holiest aches of my heart so I can bring his better country to the very people my heart aches for. Here on this earth, God's love is the better country, and I can live in it and give it to the people around me. He fills the chasm of want inside me because he is the one who placed it there so I would ask for more of him.
In Mark 7:34, Jesus speaks a beautiful command to heal a man who is deaf and mute. He says, "'Ephphatha,' -- that is, 'Be opened!'" I love this because it's how Jesus wants to heal us, too. He wants to open us so we can communicate with him, so we can experience him and the life he's blessed us with using all of ourselves.
It's healing I want and need every day because too often I miss God's sweet, gentle touch. Too often I keep parts of myself from him. Too often I don't expect him to show up, missing his love in the ways he's showing it to me, trying to get my attention.
That's why I am so grateful to long for a better country, a country found in God and his love and his promises. The things I long for open me up to God, showing me I am incomplete without him, that I need him pouring himself into me to bring me to completion.
They show me the parts of me that look like him, the ways he wants to work in and through my life. They make me rely on him for understanding and guidance, trusting him to be my home.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.