What Are You Longing For?

Every January, my students and I read the allegorical fairy tale, The Golden Key, by George MacDonald.  The main character, a boy named Mossy, has found a beautiful golden key, but he is unsure what the key unlocks. All he knows is that he is compelled to search for the keyhole.

Golden Key

As Mossy begins his journey, he is soon joined by a girl named Tangle. Together, Mossy and Tangle trek through forests, mountains and deserts, always searching for whatever it is that the golden key will unlock. Finally, they arrive in a mysterious valley where they can see the shadows of leaves on the ground, yet there are no trees to be seen anywhere that could make the shadows. Looking closer at the shadows, Mossy and Tangle see not only leaves, but flowers, birds…even people and horses. But “…some of the things which pleased them most they never knew how to describe.”

“About the middle of the plain they sat down to rest in the heart of a heap of shadows. After sitting for a while, each, looking up, saw the other in tears: they were each longing after the country whence the shadows fell.”

“We must find the country from which the shadows come,” said Mossy.

“We must, dear Mossy,” responded Tangle. “What if your golden key should be the key to it?”


What if, indeed? Some of us who live in the shadowlands understand this intense longing for Heaven, our true home.We long for the land from whence the shadows fall; not simply because we are world-weary, but because we are heart-hungry.

We long for the land from whence the shadows fall; not simply because we are world-weary, but because we are heart-hungry.

Over the years, we’ve glimpsed just enough of His glory to set our hearts on fire. We’ve run up against His merciful love and grace more times than we can count. We’ve clung so hard to His hand that we wouldn’t know how to let go. And now, as Mother Teresa said, “It’s too late. I’ve fallen in love.”

It’s too late. My heart is set on Heaven. The things of this world pale in comparison to the One who gave Himself for me. So until I walk through Heaven’s gates, I sing the old song:

        • What a day that will be,
        • When my Jesus I shall see.
        • When I look upon His face,
        • The One Who saved me by His grace.
        • Then He’ll take me by the hand,
        • And lead me through the Promised Land.
          What a day, glorious day, that will be.¹

¹”What a Day That Will Be” Words and music by Jim Hill.


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