“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (ESV)
My four year old loves to travel. His big thrill: he likes to stay at the hotel. We’ll be driving along the freeway, he’ll see a Holiday Inn or Comfort Inn (or what have you) and yell out, “Someday I go to hotel!” It’s an experience we all enjoy: the pool (my son’s favorite part of the stay), not having to make the bed, coffee available 24/7, the continental breakfast… even just the newness of staying somewhere with different scenery.
But, ask just about any business person who spends a lot of time traveling and they will tell you: the hotel experience gets old. The chlorine burns the nose. The bed is not as comfy as yours at home, nor is the coffee as good. And, really, who wants a dried up donut and half a banana for breakfast? The newness dulls, and you realize how much you miss home. Family. Love.
As Christians, we are sojourners on this earth. This isn’t home – we’re just traveling through. Maybe that’s why it can feel so awkward and ill-fitting, even “at home.” Our values aren’t the same. Our goals don’t mesh with those of the world. We are strangers who have grown tired of the continental breakfast and long to be home, where we are surrounded by love.
It is the stuff of countless Christian songs. But it is reality. God even guarantees His promise of Heaven with the Holy Spirit, who guides and enables us through this life. We have a great and precious promise to hold tight to, secure in it’s truth:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:1-7 (ESV)
This we have to look forward to: as believers, we will all be home one day. But, for now, we are weary travelers, on the road and far from home. And longing – deeply longing – for the day when we can be “at home with the Lord.” This is why evangelism is so important: this promise is to precious not to share! This is why small groups and church involvement are so important: we need each other, we need to build the body, we need that encouragement for the road ahead.
Today I am grateful for the great and precious promises of God. He owes me nothing. I deserve nothing. And yet, His love for me is so great that He has made a way to rescue me and bring me eventually home – to a home I cannot fully imagine with my limited human mental faculties, but I take on faith in Jesus.
C’mon guys. Off to the next stop.