They say elephants never forget; I think the same may be true of cats.
A friend of mine recently downsized by moving into the lower level of her own home and renting out the upstairs.
She’s perfectly happy with the arrangement. One of her cats, however, is not.
This cat remembers that he once had the run of the entire house. He still recalls that there was a wonderful place called Upstairs.
Despite having lots of room to roam downstairs, including access to a big backyard, this cat keeps trying to break into the upper level of the house. I’m told he meows plaintively at the connecting door between the two units, and tries to pry it open with his paw.
This cat knows that there’s something missing in his life. Even though Downstairs is perfectly nice, he still feels the ache to be Upstairs once again.
I think many of us know the feeling.
We have an innate sense that this world is not as it should be.
It’s broken in some way: there’s something missing.
Humans seem to have a mysterious longing for a world set right. We ache for it, even though we haven’t experienced it.
Scripture confirms this feeling. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity in the human heart.”
We have a hunger to live in the world as it was meant to be. God put in our hearts some sort of ancient memory of living in a perfect place, and we long to be there once again.
There’s tremendous beauty and goodness in this world, but also horrific suffering and evil. We have an inborn sense that our world wasn’t supposed to be this way, that something happened along the way to mar the perfection that God originally created.
That something was sin.
When sin entered this world, it affected not only human destiny but creation itself.
“Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” (Romans 8:20-21)
If the creation yearns for the day when all will be made right again, how much more do we? We seem to inherently know that we were made for something better, because this world isn’t capable of fulfilling all our longings. As C.S. Lewis puts it, we were made for another world.
What we’re longing for, whether we realize it or not, is the day when Christ returns to restore all things and to conquer death and the grave. We’re homesick for Heaven, for what Eden must have been like.
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” (Philippians 3:20)
Hebrews 11:16 speaks of the Old Testament believers “longing for a better country—a heavenly one.”
Within each of our hearts is a dissatisfaction with the way the world is now, and an ache for the way it was meant to be.
As the old hymn says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.”
The song goes on to say, “The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door.”
One day, believers will be received into the presence of God. Those who belong to Christ won’t need to pry the door open; it will be flung open in joyous welcome.
Wouldn’t you like to experience the wonders of Upstairs, too?
© 2023 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.