Home! No matter where my travels take me, there is always a yearning within for home, the place my heart is truly at peace. So while I love to travel, I am always happy to be home again where familiarity and peacefulness embrace me.
It begins when I step off the international flight onto American soil that I have the first sense of being “home.” The process of customs and immigration is familiar. I can read and understand the signage, language and processes. I whisk through the line for citizens. I know what a burger will taste like if I stop at McDonalds, I know how much money to pull out if I buy a coffee at Starbucks. I gleefully repress the urge to dance and twirl as I walk through the airport to my next gate.
It continues as we reach our final destination, collect our bags and retrieve our car from long term parking. The cool air greets me as I step outside and smell fall lingering in the air. Nearly giddy with excitement, we drive through the city toward the house we call home. The reds, yellows and oranges splashed across the landscape nearly take my breath away as I take in the arrival of fall. Captivatingly beautiful, I see it all as if for the first time.
Arriving at our house, I breathe deeply the familiar scent of home. Although the house is not new, the scent of sheet rock lingers mixed with tobacco vanilla candles. It is delightfully warm inside, inviting me to snuggle in a chair and watch the leaves fall from the trees. It is a joy to be home!
As I reflect on being outside of the United States, several differences stand out to me. Most notable is the currency. We traveled through three countries with three different currencies. Adjusting to the value of the various currencies was a continual exercise of basic math. Every purchase required us to figure the exchange and then produce the proper bills and coins. Even though I knew in my head how much an item cost, I didn’t feel it in my heart. The bills and coins I held meant nothing to me; it was like playing Monopoly. I had no attachment to the currency.
While I appreciate the culture and customs of international destinations, I notice that I remain separated from emotional involvement while I am there. I am a foreigner, an alien, a visitor to these places. I may learn about problems they face or daily challenges the people experience, but they do not become my own. I know that some day I will return home and I keep my eyes fixed on that destination.
This really isn’t about the joys of being an American citizen or a citizen of any country really. Every place has it’s own beauty, it’s appeal. Every place has it’s own wrinkles and scars. So it really isn’t about where we call “home.”
This is about HOME! That final destination of all our travels. That moment when we come face-to-face with the One who waits with eager anticipation for our arrival. That moment when we will finally be completely at peace. That moment when we will see things as they really are, for “now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
I am bothered at times by how attached I am to this place I call home, this earthly abode. I know intellectually that I am just passing through, but I hold on to things like I will be here forever. I am tempted to attach to the issues of our day in an unhealthy way, forgetting that my years here on this earth are quite short.
For instance, today is Election Day. Two weeks of accumulated mail with probably a dozen or more flyers regarding the election candidates awaited me when I arrived home. According to the flyers, I should vote for no one…none of them are worthy of my support. (Not what I think, just what the flyers told me.) But I am reminded that I must look at the issues differently. God’s words to Isaiah in chapter 8 verses 11-13 and 20 come to me. He says: “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe…’ Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.”
I also become too attached to our currency and what it offers me. I forget that I am just passing through, an alien, a stranger, a nomad. This is not my final destination and the things money can buy are not eternal. Jesus said in John 14:1-2, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is enough room in my Father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” And in Hebrews 11:13-16 we are reminded, “… they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own…they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.”
I am just passing through but God’s word has plenty to say about how I ought to live while I am here. In Jeremiah 29:5-7 the Israelites were captive in a foreign land and the Lord told them through the prophet what they ought to do. He says, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters…also, seek the prosperity of the city…pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
I know that I am just passing through this place I call home. My time here will be a few decades — maybe 8 or 9. So I pray for my city and my nation. I remind myself that my eternal home is prepared for me and waiting. I enjoy all that God provides. I live a quiet and respectful life so that I might show others the goodness of God. (I Peter 2:9-17)
But I also wait in joyful anticipation of someday being HOME! I look forward to that day when I hear, “Look, God’s home is now among his people. God himself will be with them, and they will be his people. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever! …Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3-5)
I pray that you, too, are able to take your eyes off the troubles and turmoil of today and look to your HOME! May you hold all the things this life has to offer with open hands, knowing that this is not your final destination. May your step be light and your heart joyful as you pray for the peace and prosperity of your earthly home while also looking forward to the eternal home prepared for you.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show his favor and give you his peace!
Photo by: Katlyn Eash Photography