Things are not as they should be.
We picture the garden where the man and woman walked with God in peace and unity, without shame, doubt or uncertainty and we long for it.
Christians look upon our Saviour, longing for things to be made new again when he returns—the day restoration comes.
Until then, how does this longing shape our faithfulness, our hope and our joy?
In This Homeward Ache, author Amy Baik Lee takes us on a journey to unfold how this desire and let it permeate how we live.
This Homeward Ache | Book Review
My Take: My Sehnsucht
From the Author (a short introduction to her book)
Purpose of the Book
The author writes, “this book is the story of a yearning I encountered before I knew what it was—a yearning that continued even after I discovered its provenance.” She explores this longing to help you identify it in yourself, that it may transform your faithfulness and joy.
Table of Contents
PART 1 Homeward Longing
CHAPTER 1 The Meadow
CHAPTER 2 A Far-off Country
CHAPTER3 A Yearning with a Destination
CHAPTER 4 Pierced by Peace
CHAPTER 5 Return to the Meadow
PART 2 Living Homeward
CHAPTER 6 As an Exile
CHAPTER 7 Through the Window of the Imagination
CHAPTER 8 In the Company of Other Pilgrims
CHAPTER 9 With Temporary Homes
CHAPTER 10 Through Pain
CHAPTER11 As a Writer
CHAPTER 12 While Fighting the Good Fight
CHAPTER 13 Between East and West
CHAPTER 14 On Beauty in Creation
CHAPTER 15 At the Ends of the Imagination
CHAPTER 16 While Hemmed In
CHAPTER 17 Along Winding Paths
CHAPTER 18 With Bluets
The chapters are collections of essays, weaving her life and longings into reflections that will stir the eyes of your heart to gaze outward and upward. She explores the theme of Sehnsucht, drawing on the works of CS Lewis, Tim Keller, and GK Chesterton, as they intersect with her experience and challenge our own.
My friend and I built a treehouse. Not a house, per se. More accurately, we hauled the top of an old picnic table from my friend’s backyard on the rack of my 3 wheeler 2 miles toward the edge of the treeline in my yard. We found some 2x4’s and nails, hammered out a frame and placed the picnic table over top.
Our tree platform was ready.
From the angle of this quaint hiding spot I see farmland for miles. Even as I call this place to mind, my heart skips a beat. It’s the beauty of a memory, a longing to return.
That wooden stage in the tree became one of my favourite places. As a teen I’d read my bible, play my guitar and enjoy the solitude. From there, I’d watch a hawk circling above a moving combine, waiting for its prey to reveal itself from beneath the swaths of wheat; gaze on powerfully moving waters as the spring runoff flooded the creek; and blink at farm trucks speeding by leaving a spray of dust and gravel in their wake.
Nostalgia calls me back, desiring my return to the past. It’s a whisper laden with longing, opposite from the call of wisdom, who shouts vibrantly in the streets (Prov 1:20). But this craving promises greener grass in the pastures of the past, when things were better, quiet and peaceful.
The Israelites fed this longing. A life disrupted by freedom. Desperation to return fueled complaint and discontent—their eyes fixed on figs, meat and comforts of their home. This kind of reminiscence held their hearts captive, causing them to miss the ever-present activity of Yahweh.
Memories don’t necessitate restlessness. Mary treasured up every moment of Jesus’ birth and continued pondering them. Even as we anticipate an element of wistfulness, especially as she knelt in grief alongside John at the cross.
Our returning to the past allows us a chance to learn and grow, to reflect and praise God for his goodness and grace. The visit emboldens us with strength to move forward in our present and anticipate our future—one that is both certain and not. Here’s where we meet faith on the journey, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see (Heb 11:1).
We long for something that’s missing, the perfection of the garden, the contentment of walking side by side with the Father. A mystery that eludes many but Scripture clarifies. We wait for “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). While we live in an already-not-yet salvation by grace through faith in Christ we persevere in longing and remembrance while clinging to the hope of a restoration to come.
This book received the award of distinction in The Gospel Coalition’s 2023 Book Awards in the category of First Time Author. I also found it on a couple best book lists for 2023, so it caught my attention.
If you enjoy creative nonfiction this will be for you. I found it similar in style to Hannah Anderson, or Jen Pollock Michel’s, Keeping Place.
If you’re curious about how your longing for heaven shapes your everyday, I’d recommend this.
I’ll admit, this isn’t my usual style of reading, as I tend toward prescriptive books, more direct and instructive. However, I also understand the enrichment of good writing that spurs spiritual reflection and I definitely found that in this title.
# of Pages: 224
Level of Difficulty: Easy
My Rating: 4 stars
From the Author
I hope you enjoy this short snippet as author Amy Baik Lee introduces her book.
More Like This
Scriptures About Longing?
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Ps. 84:2).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matt. 5:6).
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you (Jn. 16:22).
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you (Ps. 73:25).
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt.6:21).
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*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and for the opportunity to post an honest review.