Our yearning for home is the schoolmaster training us to yearn for Heaven.
Our Creator designed and fashioned us for “place”. Even more profound, he has fashioned us for “home”. He created in us a good and proper yearning for home. From God’s point of view, home is a location but, more, it is a place of intimate fellowship with the Father. Eden and “being with God” was God’s design for home. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished from the place where they were at home, and they lost God’s intimate converse, too. “Home”, as it was meant to be, became an elusive dream.
For many of us, home is a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, a Thomas Kinkade cottage, or the red sun sinking behind a yellow fever tree. Home is a place we always seem to be reaching for but never quite attain. A fleeting aroma of warm, just-roasted peanuts. Home! The sweet smell of a freshly mown lawn. The gleeful sound of little children playing kick the can. Deja vu! But everyone eventually disperses and the warm fuzzy feelings do, too. We almost achieve it, we see it, we reach for it, but then it evaporates. Those years when I, my husband and all five of our children lived together under one roof were when I felt most truly at home. My growing up years with Mom, Dad and both my brothers under one roof— that was home, too. But the children grow up and leave. Beloved parents die. Family moves away. The house must be sold. Or your assignment is complete, tour of duty finished, there’s a new job and it’s time to move on to the next place. For the umpteenth time, home is something we’re chasing, again.
It’s not a good feeling. Is this longing and yearning we have for home bad, then? Does the longing indicate a weakness of soul or a hidden sin, or some latent issue I should dig up and chew on? God says absolutely not. He has fashioned each heart for home. Home is so important to God, so much a part of his own image, that he stamped the desire for it on each and every soul. He talks about His own desire and plan to make His home with those who love Him! He actually wants us to long for a home and all the happy sensations of security and completeness that come with it because He intends to be the fulfilment of that longing.
Providing a home for us is a purpose of God’s! We see this throughout Scripture. Before Jesus went to the cross, he implored his disciples (those then and now) to believe him when he says “In my Father’s house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you … I will go but come again to get you so that where I am, you will be, too.” He is making a real, tangible home for us that is full of Him. As we live and move here, he whets our appetite with gifts of brief sights, smells and sounds which are but a shadow of the real thing. Rather than droop when home evaporates, he wants us to laugh and holler, “Yes! I see it! I can hardly wait!”
God called Abraham to leave his home to go to another place that would be the earthly home of God’s people. During his moving process though, the eyes of his soul were opened to see his genuine inheritance. He saw from afar and was assured of a home with foundations (real, not illusive), whose builder and maker is God. The land was important, but his faith more so. He, and others before him, believed that God would reward those who diligently seek Him out. He would reward them with His presence, which is what makes a house a home.
Abraham and others embraced the promises of God, confessed their identity as aliens and declared plainly that they do still, however, seek a homeland. They didn’t give up on home. They didn’t say that desiring a home is a sign of weakness or sin. They did not say “poor me”. Not by a long shot! They understood God’s plan for home and embraced it. When we adjust our longing for home to God’s plan for one, as revealed in his word, our faith grows! We are able to enjoy earthly homes with a proper perspective.
We read that if Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah had called to mind the country from which they had come they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. God has purposely designed time so that we can’t go back to homes that were (the good old days). He doesn’t want our soul to look back to a time with fewer trials, either. To walk by faith means to not go back. Because the heroes of Hebrews didn’t go back, “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them”.
If you are abiding in Him, God gives you grace, and watches you as you leave behind all your old ideas of what you must have to be comfy and secure and at home; he catches your eye, and you fix your gaze on Him, contented with Him and the current provision; and then He looks at you and declares, “I am proud to be called your God. I make My home with you now, and forever.” If that does not thrill your soul, no Kinkade cottage will.
See Hebrews 11, 12; Revelation 21:1-8; John 14 and 17; I Thessalonians 4:13-18 …