Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are You Ever Homesick?

In his delightful little book, "Traveling Light", Max Lucado writes,

"Would you treat this world like it is your home? It isn't. The greatest calamity is not to feel far from home when you are, but to feel right at home when you are not. Don't quench, but rather, stir this longing for heaven."
I like that!

Too often we feel at home here. God's people should never fall into that trap, but sadly, many of us have. It's so easy to do so. This is all we really know. This is where we were raised. This is where we stay. This is where our jobs are. This is where our family is. It is a beautiful world, and all that we need in the physical realm is here for us. But those of us who are Christ followers need to remember that this world is not our forever home. Somewhere deep inside we know this truth, but it is so easy to lose sight of it as we go about our daily lives.

Engrossed in the here and now, we tend to forget about forever.

When my mind goes back to my childhood, I can remember the congregations of little country churches raising their voices in unison, singing:

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world any more."
The truth of the matter is we ARE just passing through. This is our temporary home. Our forever home is just out there - unseen for now, but very real nonetheless. As Christians, you and I are somewhat like Abraham here in the 21st century. We must confess that we are pilgrims and strangers here, looking for that final home, that promised home, that forever home. Paul, the Apostle wrote that our citizenship is in Heaven. Somewhere deep inside, we know it, but the business of living often blinds us to the beautiful truth of what the future holds for God's children.

My deed for that forever home was recorded on March 15, 1969. It's been over 40 years now, and I'll have to confess that there have been times I have lost sight of the fact. I've never doubted it, you understand, but at times I have lost that perspective. I sometimes need to be reminded of the fact. Are you like that too?

The transitory nature of this life, came sharply back into focus for me nearly five years ago. One word did the trick. "Cancer". Several adjectives followed that diagnosis. Words like "stage 4", "aggressive", "metastasized", and "incurable" quickly reminded me of the fact that I had certainly known all along, but had just laid aside because of the busy nature of my life. This world is not my home.

I thought about Heaven a lot in those days. I searched out every reference I could find in the scriptures. I read Randy Alcorn's book on the subject. I talked a lot about it with a couple of dear friends who also had terminal illnesses. I went through several surgeries and two different six month courses of chemotherapy. God worked a miracle in my life, and the disease, which was supposed to take me out in 19-22 months didn't! Life went on, ministry work continued, and somewhere along the line, I began to feel at home in this world again. It is possible to be so busy in the Lord's work that we can lose sight of the fact that this is NOT home.

I really do want to go to Heaven. I'm homesick for that place which I have never seen, but one in which I am destined to reside. The homesickness is not because of the beauty of the place (although I know it is breathtaking in grandeur). It's not due to the fact that I have loved ones there (and I do have many friends who are there). The homesick feeling is because my Savior is there and He has hardwired me to know that my home is with Him. Life is good here, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life", but my eternal home is still to come, "And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever."

Prayer: "Dear Lord, please help me to not feel so much at home here when I am really not home yet. Keep me focused on you. Never let me get so busy that I lose sight of my forever home".

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