I love being at home. I am not afraid to admit that I am without question a “home body”. I love being at home with my family for so many reasons: I always felt taken care of, I am loved, encouraged, prayed for, and comfortable. Being at home just feels so right for me….it is almost hard to put into words. There is something comforting knowing that my family knows the sins I struggle with, and yet they are also the people who have loved me so well for 21 years of my life. Home for me is unconditional love, acceptance, freedom, rest, and peace. I don’t have to perform, I don’t have to act like I have it all together, and I am constantly forgiven for my imperfections. My mom in particular has the really unique ability to forgive me instantly when I confess sin to her and apologize. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she doesn’t hold grudges, she doesn’t stay angry, and she forgives easily. She understands…She understands that when I or my sister say something sarcastic or disrespectful that is is because we are either tired, sick, anxious, or hurting. She just gets it. She is our safe refuge. My dad always makes me feel loved and taken care of by acts of service, hugs, cooking me food, and giving me massages. I always feel provided for, protected, and taken care of. My sister is my constant companion at home whether she likes it or not. I love spending time with her. When she takes a nap, I take a nap; when she works on school stuff so do I; when she watches a movie or goes outside or takes a trip to the store, you better believe I want to go with her. Her care-free spirit inspires me to let go of the little things that I worry about and invest my life into things that actually matter. My sweet doggy, Maddie May, also has the ability to make me feel more peace than anything else can. She’s a sweetie, and I could honestly write a whole blog about her….but I won’t bore you with that.
All of this being said, it’s really easy for me to get homesick when I am up at school. Tears often roll down my face when I have to leave simply because I love my family and I don’t want to leave them. I don’t have anything about school that I dread or that is particularly challenging this semester, it’s just not the same as being at home. Less peace, less rest, and less understanding. There are things that I love about being at Tech, but I often do long to be at home with my family, where I am completely accepted, wanted, forgiven, and loved unconditionally. There isn’t a burden to perform; there isn’t any task to be completed, and there isn’t a need to constantly be busy.
When you think about it, we are all homesick for a place of comfort, restoration, peace, love, and comfort whether we realize it or not. Maybe you don’t have a good home life, maybe you feel like you have a broken family, maybe you have walked through divorce or the divorce of a parent, or maybe, you simply have a deep feeling of discontentment whether or not you are at home or away from home. That nagging feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction in our hearts isn’t meant to discourage us and defeat us.
What if God wired us to long for something more than “home” in a physical sense? What if the purpose of our dissatisfaction with the ways of this world is to point us to a new home, a place in heaven with God the Father?
A few weeks ago my friend texted me and said, “Do you ever feel homesick, home being heaven?” My reply was literally, “Wow! All the time! Haha” When you think about it, the real question is how can someone not feel homesick for heaven? Heaven is a place where you are unconditionally loved, accepted, forgiven, understood, and known. It is a place of everlasting peace and rest; there is no more pain, no more suffering, and no more sin. The work of Jesus on the cross and our finished sanctification finally comes into full effect when we are face-to-face with the almighty God. If we are followers of Jesus, we plead the blood of Jesus, we proclaim the worthiness of God, and we bow our knees to our eternal king. We finally have a full, complete, and perfect relationship with God, with nothing getting in the day. We are completely content and filled with joy; we have new, resurrected bodies, and we are feasting at the table of the Lord with thanksgiving and praise. Who wouldn’t want that?
I believe that any glimpse of unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy that we experience here on earth is just a shadow of what I will experience in heaven. When I am homesick for my family, I am reminded that I am ultimately homesick for heaven. I am homesick for the feeling of being completely loved, known, accepted, and forgiven. I am homesick for peace with God and freedom from any and every sin.
I want Jesus to return to this earth and restore every broken place. I know that dying is gain and that the things of this world all fade away. I don’t understand why Jesus hasn’t returned and why the earth still isn’t restored. However, when I focus on my homesickness, I neglect to remember the fact that other people are unaware that they are homesick for heaven. They may be looking for the feeling of “home” here on earth, where it can never completely be found. In my selfishness, I become content in knowing that most of my family and friends are followers of Jesus and are going to heaven when they pass through this life. My heart 100% without question yearns for heaven, but I can’t stay in a place where I am just upset that I am not living a life of complete restoration and redemption. I became a follower of Jesus because many, many people were willing to share the gospel with me, disciple me, love me unconditionally, and invest in my life. How selfish of me not to want to share that with anyone and everyone who will listen, so that they too will spend eternity with Jesus?
Friends, I want to invite you in. The restless, peace-lacking, aching, groaning, discontent, unsatisfied, hurting, and broken places in our heart are not going to be able to be satisfied here on earth. Even with a relationship with Jesus, believers are not exempt from trial and heartache. On the contrary, the bible says we are actually called to endure more suffering in this life so that God may be made known among more people. This word is not our home. Our hearts are yearning for the presence of the true and living God.
Before I end, I want to unpack some scripture with you guys. John 4:13-14 says, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'”
What is Jesus saying here? That we need to stop drinking water? That believers won’t ever be thirsty? Not quite. Jesus is trying to parallel water with a person’s spiritual condition. When he says, “…everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again”, he is referring to water that is found on this earth. For you and I, “this” means whatever we run to to try to satisfy our souls. Jesus promises that when we try to run to worldly things for satisfaction that we will never be content, and that we will always desire more even when we have plenty. The same water that Jesus offers to the woman at the well, he offers to you and I. This water is meant to represent eternal life with Jesus, in a home where we will be fully satisfied, restored, healed, and redeemed.
God is calling his children to come home to him. Whether you are a prodigal that has lost your way or the idea of a relationship with Jesus is completely foreign to you. God loves you, he is for you, and he wants you to come home to him. Humble yourself, turn from your sin, confess your need for Jesus, plead his blood, ask for forgiveness, claim Jesus as your Savior and Lord of your life, and follow his ways. If you are like me, and you have a relationship with Jesus, I want to encourage you to ask God where you are trying to satisfy your heart in ways that don’t satisfy. Ask God to create a clean heart in you, and to comfort, restore, heal, and redeem the broken parts of your life. Something that I have to remind myself is that this will be a continual process until we get to heaven. It won’t be perfect, and you won’t be perfect. However, I want to invite you all in to join me in humbling myself, confessing my sin before the Lord, and asking him to be my “home away from heaven”, my sanctuary, my shelter, my comfort, and my everything.