I am living with a wonderful host family this summer as I intern at Focus on the Family, and recently they played Ali Cooper’s (their daughter-in-law) EP album for me (you can find it on iTunes). She has a beautiful voice and piano accompaniment, but the lyrics of her song “I Don’t Belong Here” are what hit me square in the face. The words talk about Ali’s discontent with the “apathy, fake smiles and opinions” that surround her. So her response is, Will You lift me on Your wings?/Take me from this state I’m in/Take me from here.
I feel like that quite often. I am grateful for my family and friends and all the other earthly blessings God has given me, but at the end of the day, something isn’t quite right. I don’t quite fit in this place. I find myself living with a certain discontent — not a discontent with my circumstances or what God has given me, but a discontent that knows I was ultimately made for more than the world I see and the life I’m living.
The wonderful truth is, I am in good company, and if you have ever felt this way, so are you. The heroes of faith, the men and women of the Bible whom we look up to, had the same kind of discontent. Hebrews 11 contains snapshots of many of their stories, and in the midst of those snapshots, the writer of Hebrews pauses to describe what the heroes of faith were like:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Heaven is the “country of our own,” the place where we belong. While it is difficult to live life here on earth as strangers, the confident hope that we will be reunited with our Maker in perfection forever helps to sustain us while we walk through this foreign land. And walking here alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ who live with the same hope can be an “appetizer,” so to speak, to tide us over until we get to heaven where the eternal feast begins. Our years on earth may seem long, and as citizens of heaven we will often feel out of place here, but we live with the hope of glory to sustain us until God finally calls us home.