September 08, 2023

Looking for a Better Country

Hebrews 11:8-22

They did not receive the things promised . . . admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

—  Hebrews 11:13

Every summer my wife and I load up our van and spend a week camping with our kids. The children are old enough now to help with setting up the tent and the campsite and settling in to the routines of the week. We look forward to these times away together.

But living in a tent is no substitute for a solid home. The writer of Hebrews, looking back at the stories of Israel’s patriarchs (which we’ve examined in the past week), makes clear that something deeper drives our search for home. In faith we are “looking for the city . . . whose architect and builder is God.”

Not all of us might recognize this deeper search, of course. Often we pull up stakes in search of something that will make our lives better. We imagine we can trade the hardships and heartaches of one situation for a week at the cottage, or with a new boyfriend or girlfriend, or with a stiff drink, or a new job, or a nicer home—whatever will seem to fulfill our longing. But the best this world can offer is mere tent camping compared to the home with “many rooms” that our Savior prepares for us (John 14:2).

The patriarchs, by faith, went somewhere. They followed God’s call or discovered that God was with them as they went. And they learned that just going somewhere could never satisfy the longing that only God could fulfill.

Savior, lead us by your Spirit through our journey of life. Bring us safely to the home you have prepared for us by your grace. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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