Our heavenly citizenship offers comfort and rest. The author of Hebrews describes Abraham and Sarah’s longing for a heavenly homeland.
They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it....If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Nothing beats the feeling of coming home after a long flight or a grueling car ride. This longing increases the closer we get to home. What is it about home that brings us comfort and relief?
First, home represents a place for rest. We view it as a place where we can relax and unwind. In the same way, our heavenly home provides us rest. In the Old Testament, God’s rest denoted Israel entering the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 25:19). But God’s rest extends way beyond this. It also describes relief from the weight of sin. It includes an end to our relentless pursuit of trying to earn God’s favor. It entails rest from our cares and anxieties (Psalm 95:11, Hebrews 4).
Second, our longing for home often seems connected to those awaiting us at home. Why does a father rush to get home after a long day at work? It’s because he longs to see his wife and children. Likewise, we feel a sense of growing anticipation to meet Jesus face-to-face as we approach the end of our lives. We also eagerly await reuniting with friends and loved ones who went ahead of us to be with the Lord.