I won't do this often (post the writings of others) but this was sent to me by a dear friend, and it discusses a few paragraphs from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. It is a good read and worthy of contemplation.
We long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:2)
C. S. Lewis called earth “the Shadowlands.” It was a brilliant observation and an analogy that was lost on many. Yet he knew what he meant. To Lewis, earth was a land of nothing but shapes and shadows. No beauty or joy truly satisfied. Even the most ecstatic moments eventually turned to sorrow. Even in the happiest moments of life there was always a sense that something was missing, that something was not quite right.
He explains this view in one of his writings:
"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not mean the universe is a fraud … earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.
It makes no sense that we would miss something we’ve never had. If I lost an arm, I’m certain I would mourn the loss and wish I could have it back. Yet I’ve never longed to have a third arm. The thought has never crossed my mind. The death of my wife would bring immense sorrow and pain, but what if I’d never been married to her? What if I’d never met her? Her passing would go unnoticed. You can’t miss something you’ve never had.
Yet we all have a deep longing within our heart. A longing for a place we’ve never been. A yearning for a life we’ve never known. A desire that burns within our heart and often leaves us feeling cold and empty.
Paul explains the source of this desire: “We know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down—when we die and leave these bodies—we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself …. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).
We long for heaven because that’s where we will live with God forever. Our longing is for intimacy with God, not for the streets of gold, and not even for life eternal. What we want is what we were created to have. To be who we were created to be. To live and laugh and love with the One who created us to do all of that—and more!"