A friend asked me once, what five words would I want to say to someone if I could only say five words. My words were: there is more than this.
If there were not more than this, if we were not holding out for something better, if there was no way home we would not find ourselves in these positions. If there was nothing then I would not be in this state of thoughtfulness tonight, at another friend going across to the other side of the world to bring reality into peoples lives. If there was not more than this where would we be? Would we stay inside and build our nests, or would we seek the ever increasing need to find something more, something outside our world to define us, to ease the hunger within.
But we delay, we hold back, we say “there is something more”. There is a story that defines us all, that tells us of who we are and where we are going, there is a story that is true whether we believe it or not. There is a story that we live by. That drives us to tell others about it’s beauty and truth. That causes us to delay what we want right now. That hopes in something better to come and that shapes the way we make sense of the walking around, living, breathing that we do each day.
There is a story that holds truth greater than the greatest friendship, that is worth the sacrifices people make for it. There is a purpose to the denying of what I want right now. Because when we take up our crosses and follow there is a place to follow someone to. A place which when what we see now is compared to it, what we see now will seem dark, dingy and murky. There is a purpose to this pain.
Jesus, the defining moment in history and reality. Whose life and death and life again we are all bound up into. The man, the God who walked this earth. Who calls us to follow where he trod. Whose power is at work today in our lives, enabling us to say no to the stuff in front of our eyes and to say yes to the stuff that is to come. That enables me to not hold tightly to friendships that I know will one day last forever.
I sound sure, don’t I… Believe me, most of the time I’m not sure. Some of the time I look up at the stars and fail to believe that there is a creator who knows my name and could care about me. Who really is in charge. It doesn’t get easier. There is no point when it becomes easy to persevere. But I am aware of a greater truth than my feelings about this world. A truth I want to line my feelings up with.
There is Hope. And a whole cloud of witnesses who blazed a trail for us to follow.
“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”.
Faith- the journey towards the better country. Where the stuff that I held so dear here will made complete, fulfilled or be reduced to the sham they were. Friendships I cling to, the desperate desire to be no 1 in someone’s life, the need to be comfortable, accepted and secure. All these good things, that in the wrong hands can be turned to rubbish, will be redeemed.
And we will stand on that day. Knowing that there was more than this.