Longing for a phone that never becomes outdated

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

In 2004, I bought my first cell phone. It was a Samsung flip phone, and it was amazing. For the first time, I could call people from my car or the store. I could even send text messages. That is, as long as I had enough patience to press the numbers multiple times in order to eventually get to the letters I wanted. And if the Wi-Fi was right, I could even slowly surf the internet. I had truly arrived.
It didn’t take long before that flip phone became painfully outdated. With every passing year, phones got faster, screens got clearer, and the apps became better. That new phone euphoria would quickly give way to envy at someone else’s newer model and an intense desire to upgrade. And don’t even get me started on the cracked screens, chipped edges, and scuff marks that would quickly make my new phone feel like old news.

The reality of life in this world is that we are filled with longings for experiences that we can never truly have. Or, if we are fortunate enough to have them for a moment, they inevitably slip through our hands quicker than a new smartphone becomes yesterday’s model. We long for a clean house, a completed to-do list, a family at peace, sufficient money in the bank, a body size and shape that we are happy with, true love, and yes, technology that does not decay or fall apart. And yet, all these things feel like they are always just out of reach, like we are “chasing after the wind,” to borrow a phrase from Ecclesiastes 1:14.

But here is the good news. The witness of the Bible is that one of the beautiful realities of heaven is that all of these longings will be fulfilled when we are eternally in the presence of God. The deeper yearnings underneath our worldly desires for peace, order, security, satisfaction, self-worth, glory, joy, and love will be perfectly met when we finally have the One to whom all of our frustrated experiences have been trying to point us to all along.
I believe that if I look closer at my longing for a phone that is forever new and never decays, ages, or breaks down, I will find a longing God has placed within me for eternity. Specifically, I will find a desire for wonder that is perpetually new, for a joy and surprise that will be forever fulfilled when I am in the presence of God. I believe that Paul’s exclamation in Romans 11:33-36 - “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!... To him be the glory forever!” – points us to the incredible reality that, for all eternity, we will never exhaust the depths and beauty and glory of God. Being in God’s presence will never grow old, and our experience of the new heavens and new earth will never be subject to decay, boredom, or a desire for something better. We will at the same time be utterly satisfied and perpetually in a state of wonder, revealing to us once and for all that always having the newest model phone was only a shadow of the real thing, a cheap imitation of the glorious and eternal reality of God.

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