Friday, January 8, 2010
There are times when you find yourself miles away from the familiar, disconnected from loved ones, in a strange or foreign place and the heart strings ache to return to a place you call home. Is it merely a longing for the routine that nags at our soul; or could it be something of more depth? Would the maker of all things have any idea what his creation goes through with respect to feelings like this one; Or maybe, could God have even invented this feeling and if so, why?
We go through our lives scarcely aware of our surroundings, we mark time in routines, are casual with those we need the most; UNTIL - we find ourselves separated from these common things and begin to feel that separation. Then the commonplace becomes appreciated. The things we took for granted become the prize we crave. What is it that makes one feel a longing for home? Could it be the emptiness of things, or the lack of value in experiences that go unshared? Whatever the motive, the feeling is distinct and unmistakable. It is rough to be homesick.
And believe it or not, God feels it perhaps more than we. You see, God has a bad case of empty-nest syndrome. All of His children are far away, disconnected, and not ready to return home just yet. The parable Christ told of the prodigal son, reveals the feelings of His Father when He runs towards his long-lost son and throws His own raiment on his filthy starving child. He welcomes His son home with a great feast sparing no expense in celebration. There is no condemnation of His son which would be rightly deserved. Rather there is nothing but an overwhelming expression of love. God after all, is love. And love yearns to connect, to share experiences, to find value in others. “Things” do not even rate a concerned word, but people are praised above all else.
Ever find yourself at home, and still homesick? The patriarch Abraham was defined as a sojourner wandering in a strange land looking for a home promised by God. But since Eden, mankind has not known his true home. We have been wandering in a strange world, separated from the source of all love. And though the good-news of the gospel reveals the plan of redemption, and we begin to reconnect to our God through the grace of His Son Jesus, we still find ourselves here. We remain in this strange and foreign land. Until we come to see the nature of our disease, until we recognize we so desperately need the cure, which only the Master Physician can apply – we remain in our strange land, distracted, and unaware of why we feel such a longing that cannot be filled. We remain homesick, and ignorant as to why. When we recognize the nature of sin, and reject it, and realize what it means to turn away from evil and embrace what is good – we begin to be ready to return to our real home.
It is hard to learn the lesson of helplessness, of humility, and of dependence. We are much more acclimated to be proud than to admit shortfalls. We are inclined to embrace self-sufficiency until we finally hit ‘rock-bottom’ in our lives. Unfortunately these lessons are sometimes required in a spiritual context in order to see where spiritual growth actually occurs. Just like the heroin junkie, or hard-core alcoholic, we realize our powerlessness and admit we need help outside of ourselves – even for the ‘little’ sins. The work of Salvation belongs to the Lord. Our role remains to accept it. When we turn aside from this, we embrace an ignorance that prolongs our separation. God does not help those who ‘help’ themselves – God helps those who realize they are powerless to do anything to ‘help’ themselves. It is our weakness that enables His strength. It is our recognition of our blindness that finally gives us sight. And it is our death to self, that finally brings us life, and life eternal.
So when will our homesick condition finally end? A question asked from Adam till me, and with luck by only few more moving forward. I thought in my teens that I may never see college in this world as God would return one final time to take us home and end all this. But in my teens I did not see the nature of my sin. I thought God wanted to deny me the ‘fun’ things when He did return. In college, I thought not to see my thirties for surely the time is near then. But while in college I discovered the love of God, I still held that some sins were simply too important to be shed of just yet. Then in my thirties I thought my children would not see college in this world, but would have to rather enroll in Heaven University. Wrong again. But in my thirties I began to reap what I had sown for so long, the sin I had cherished hit me hard, and repeatedly. The habits I had developed had it in mind to destroy me utterly. And I began to realize the true nature of sin, any sin, all sin, my sin.
I am older now, in my forties, the golden age. :) And I realize my wisdom is naught, my goodness entirely lacking, my faith is only a gift (part of the package of redemption I chose so long ago). While my certainty in the existence of a benevolent God is rooted in a lifetime of my relationship with Him; I find all things of value associated with me actually come from Him. Our relationship is one-sided; He gives and I try not to refuse or get in the way of His gift. My ambition becomes to be a more effective channel. My goal becomes to see a complete eradication of sin and evil in my life and as other recognize it, throughout the Universe in total. I crave an end to the homesickness that plagues me to the core. I yearn to curl up in the bosom of the Lord and know peace. I wish to play like a child in Heaven’s parks at the feet of Jesus. And I wish to learn, explore, and find service my calling.
As far across as the Universe may be, and as much as I plan to traverse it, I cannot exist long outside of the immediate presence of my Father God. Home is truly in His presence. And Homesickness will exist until I am able to physically enter His presence without fear, doubt, or hesitation. Though I will never be worthy, I will be forgiven. And He will run to meet me. He will throw His righteousness over my filthy existence covering me with an honor I will never warrant. He will celebrate our reunion with more joy than even I could experience. And my homecoming will finally be complete. But I will not ever comprehend why or even how He could feel so strongly about me. This is the eternal mystery of love, which I yearn to embrace.
But for now, I wait here, in a strange land … homesick.
Posted by Kristian Nelson at 12:04 AM