I have been thinking of the idea of home a to lately.
Preparing for a transition back to my home in the States is really throwing me for a loop. Though I still am unsure whether this move will be permanent or not, saying goodbye to this place I have grown to love so much is really hard.
I love my home and my family in America, but I love Thialand too, and in many ways, this is my home now. It feels safe and comfortable and familiar to me now. And I want to cling to it, because, in a way, now America seems a too foreign to me. And it’s scary. I want to remain where it’s safe.
We all have this desire in us to have a home. A place to feel safe, and comfortable, secure in a place that feels familiar and accepting. And I realized that it’s not an accident that we have these longings, these longings were placed in us from the beginning.
Before God created mankind, he had a plan. His plan was to create an environment in which he would place mankind. The environment would be self-sustaining and man’s primary function would be to communicate with God the Father. The Garden of Eden was the first home created on earth and Adam and Eve were privileged to live in this beautiful home. This home had everything anyone could ask for. God provided everything for them in an absolutely perfect way. There was no need for Adam and Eve to worry about weather conditions, storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes because conditions were well-controlled. At this particular time, there was no such thing as death. Nothing died, nothing rotted, and nothing spoiled. And most importantly, they had perfect relationship with their father and creator. It was the perfect home.
But God did not want puppets on a string, so he gave mankind the privilege of making choices.
Most of us know the story, and it is the story of each of us. Adam and Eve were asked to live in obedience, to not eat of a particular tree, for their own good. But with the help of the influence of Satan, they chose to eat this fruit, to disobey God, and there were consequences.
It was at this very moment that their home life changed.
This action was the fall of mankind. This was the original sin and this sin caused them to be separated from God and to lose their happy home in the Garden of Eden.
Since Adam and Eve, humanity has been trying to get home again, whether we know it or not. We are all on a journey in the search for home. This yearning, this longing we all have for home, for security, for the perfect home, it has been in us since the beginning. Drawing us in to the story of God, and the plan he has for us to be back at home with him.
Our yearning for acceptance and approval and love, its all part of our search for home. We are a displaced people. In a sense, we are all refugees. Away from our true home, trying to create a new home in a new place, but still homesick.
I know a little about about what its like to be away from home for a very long time. When I first moved to Thailand, I missed America a lot. So I am really familiar with homesickness. I moved from a quite beach town in America, to a busy, smelly, crazy city full of people who did not speak my language or have my kind of food. I had to learn to eat rice every day and get accustomed to spicy food. I missed so many things. I missed my family, missed cool weather, I missed machines that dried my clothes, I missed cheese… It was rough.
So I found some interesting ways to help with homesickness. Some days I would turn the air conditioning on full blast, put on a sweater, and pretend it was cold outside while drinking hot chocolate. Some days I would watch videos on you tube of people going to my favorite places. One day, when people kept posting pictures of Girl Scout cookies on Facebook, I decided I was going to try to recreate the fabulous Samoa cookie myself… it didn’t turn out too well.
But sometimes people would bring or send things from America and I would eat them and say, “It tastes like home.”
Or I would step onto a certain beach in Thailand that reminded me of my beach back home and get that warm feeling of, “Feels like home.”
Or I would be with a friend laughing about something familiar… and that person or that moment, makes me feel safe and known, and joyful in a perfect kind of way that maybe you haven’t felt in a really long time… and it “feels like home.”
So we all know this feeling of “home” because we get glimpses of this in our lives. We all have some kind of home here, that we think about. Or people in our lives that feel like home, or even just mounts, and we are always trying to get back to those moments.
When we are at work, we think about getting home and kicking off our shoes and laying down on the couch.
When we are away from someone we love, we long to get back to them.
There are times we go on vacation, or visiting, staying with family or friends, or staying at a motel or hotel, but we are always anxious to get back home.
At Christmas we feel this need to get back home the most because Christmas is a time, even if you are not a Christian, that our culture celebrates home, and family. People travel from one part of the country to the other to spend time with their families at their home, its the most expensive time to travel. we want that warm, safe, familiar feeling.
There is no place like home.
But these are all just a glimpse of home, pieces of something bigger that is going on. Our home is in Jesus, and one day, we are promised that Jesus will return and restore all things to how they should be. Our home with him will be restored.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your home.” Psalm 84:1-4
This Psalm captures the longing of the soul for home, and acknowledges the place of the soul’s bottom-line yearning: the home where God dwells. This yearning is what drives the essentially the soul of every human being; even the atheist who denies the existence of any gods, yearns for what drives his very being, even if he doesn’t understand it yet.
All of us are always on our way home. Our experienced of home in this world, though real, are temporary, intermediate experiences of what is to come. One writer puts it like this: “In the believer whose vision of the future is framed by faith, the intermediate joys of coming home are intended to whet their appetite for the courts of the living God, and the Savior’s presence, who died for them. This is why God gives us homes, and the feelings that accompany “coming home” today, that we may with the Psalmist yearn for our home in the dwelling place of God.”
We have a promise, God has an eternal home for us, we have a home in Jesus now, but we also an actual place where everything is right again. Our true home.
The book of Revelation talks about this place:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5
Some find it hard to believe that there is a future state of being called “a new heaven and a new earth.” A new creation. A restoration of the way things ought to be. A reversal of sin and war, earthquakes and hurricanes, disease and temptation. A condition in which there is no death, no pain, no tears. That its just too good to be true, too unrealistic.
Yet this is exactly what our God promises. He wants us to be home with him. Our place, in his plan, is to come home. Finally, truly, forever—home.
Doesn’t that just sound so amazing?!!
This is our great promise, that even when everything is terrible, there is something better waiting for us in the end.
So this is what I going to focus on as I transition from one “home” to another, that no matter how hard it gets, I am not actually home yet.