Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Home I Never Knew I Longed For

The best part of a vacation is coming home. Or so people say. 

For me, each returning evokes longing. We have been in temporary dwellings now for just over a year. Our flood-wrecked house is undergoing repairs and the waiting makes me ache. I feel displaced, unstable and in transit. I long to pull into our driveway after being away, and to feel the comfort of arriving at our home and haven.

The tension tugs at my emotions and tempts me to despondency. But the words of Hebrews 11 infuse my heart with hope. They tell the story of saints who left their earthly homes because they desired something better. They freely identified themselves not only as living in transit, but as pursuing a heavenly home. They so strongly identified with their heavenly citizenship that they called themselves “strangers” and “exiles” while here on earth. 
These all died in faith...having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
So perhaps this involuntary homelessness is a reality check for me. Do I more closely identify with my earthly home or my heavenly one? In truth, I’m not sure my house has ever been a true sanctuary for me. The flood last year leaves no doubt of it’s deficiency. Perhaps my longing to move home is actually a longing for a better homeland. The ultimate driveway to pull into.

In a sermon titled “The Weight of Glory,”C.S. Lewis said: 
These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.
I have a sneaking suspicion that my longing for home will never be satisfied in this life. Earthly longings are shadows, but not substance. Insatiable apart from Christ. They taste of fleeting satisfaction, but always leave me wanting. And yet far too often, the object of my desire eclipses my view of Christ. 

I'm learning that my refuge is not found between four walls, but in Jesus Christ. In Him I find freedom from sin’s slavery. Reconciliation. Peace. A spiritual rest untouchable by circumstances. He stretches out the heavens, keeps the earth in orbit, redeems humanity and holds my heart in his hands.

Through faith in Christ I find the sanctuary that eludes me on earth--the ultimate home that I never knew I longed for.

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