Longing for Home

Comprehend the Word: John 14:23

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Contemplate the Word:

Home. It’s a simple word— only four letters —but it’s a word that carries weight. Charles Dickens once wrote that “home” is a stronger word than any magician or conjurer ever spoke. The mere mention of the word can evoke a longing so profound that it can only be described in terms of a physical ailment: homesickness.

Longings for home punctuate our books, our movies, and our music: “There’s no place like home”; “Home is where the heart is”; “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams”; “You can’t go home again.” But home is more than a place. It’s the people who make a house a home.

And no matter how ideal those relationships may have been in the past, they can’t help but change over time. Faces that used to gather round the table may be far away, or wrinkled, or . . . no longer with us.

As much as we’ve tried to savor the moments, we are sometimes left with an unsettling nostalgia for the home that was. Or wasn’t. Even when the word “home” conjures up associations of dysfunction and brokenness, it uncovers a powerful ache for someplace better.

Finding the way home is a perennial cry of the human heart. Countless movies explore this theme: The Wizard of Oz, E.T., Apollo 13, Finding Nemo, The Martian, The Jungle Book, and the recent movie Lion—just to name a few. Once you begin to look for this theme, you see it everywhere. Our culture’s fascination with this quest reveals a deep yearning for the heart’s true home.  But if the truth be told, even if we somehow find our way back to where we came from, it disappoints. It still doesn’t satisfy this universal longing for home.

There seems to be a deep-seated sense of exile that no home on earth can resolve—however lovely or filled with laughter. C. S. Lewis addresses the longing behind this unmet desire for home:

What if the home we long for is not a place but a Person?

Intriguingly, the Bible whispers, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Jesus comforted his disciples on the night before his crucifixion: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. . . . When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

In the meantime, he promises to come live with those who love and obey him: “My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them” (see Deut. 33:27; John 14:1–3; John 14:23).

The whole Bible, in fact, tells a story that makes sense of our innate longing for home. Its opening pages describe a perfect home — shared with God — and narrate the events that led to humanity’s tragic eviction. Its closing pages picture a perfected humanity, welcomed home into the direct presence of God. As the story unfolds between these two bookends, God unwaveringly pursues his mission to rescue humanity and restore creation, and he does so by means of making his home in the midst of his people.

—Excerpts from Longing for Home: Tracing the Path of God’s Story to Find Your True Home by Susan Maxwell Booth

Converse with the Word:

HE: God, you are Home. You are the Person who created all the places of home to reflect the eternally safe and perfect home with you. You are the perfect Heavenly Father whom our hearts long for. 

ME: Show me how to abide with You, how to make my home in Your presence, rather than in the emptiness of this world. Forgive me for seeking elsewhere what is only available in You. Deliver me from distraction, doubt and discouragement that will keep me from staying close to You. 

WE: Holy Spirit fill me with your presence. Put me in places where you are preparing hearts. You long to be home with your children. Connect me with those whose you hearts you want to be Your home. Give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word and Your presence. Everything else will simply add to my homesickness. 

If you are hungry to understand the big story of Scripture, look no further. But you will need to wait just a tad longer! Beginning September 12, we will be hosting this 12-week study, Longing for Home (what God’s story says about the one you were made for) at getintotheword.ca. Begin praying about who God might prompt you to invite who may not yet know that God's greatest desire is for their heart to be His home. Order your copy today ,ask God who to invite on the journey, and stay tuned for more details!