Daddy built us a good home. In the 1970’s, he drew the plans for rooms which would house his family’s joys and sorrows and togetherness for almost 40 years. In recent months, I’ve emotionally detached myself from my childhood home, trading nostalgic wistfulness for the tiresome duties of cleaning, sorting, packing, repairing, and preparing to move on.
But today I will hold the keys to my past in one hand and a pen in the other, signing over these rooms to another family who will create a future in their midst. The memories rush in, and I am happy and heartbroken. I remember.
Countless games of hide and seek among the dogwoods and pines. The vibrations in the walls when my brother played his bass guitar. Good dog Charlie who faithfully kept all my secrets. Prom and graduation pictures with my big hair, 80’s style. The smell of Mom’s chicken casserole. The year that Daddy decided that he wanted a cedar Christmas tree with old-school colored lights and silver tinsel and Mom adorned her own fir tree in elegant white and gold.
I remember how Daddy, a General Motors man, muttered under his breath when my date parked a Toyota in the driveway. And months later, how he looked damp-eyed and proud when we came home to show off my new ring.
At night, when I was little and afraid, I would gaze at the light from the living room as it filtered through the crack in my bedroom door. And somehow the light formed the shape of an upturned hand reaching across the shadows on my ceiling. The hand invited and comforted me, and I knew God was there. I felt chosen and loved.
And home, I learned from an early age, is that place that beckons me. I understand that not everyone is able to look back at their childhood with warm memories of home. Yet, I believe that all of us feel this beckoning – this innate longing to be chosen and loved – to find where we fit.
In a world of shifting shadows, home is where there is purity, wholeness, safety, togetherness, and joy. It is a glimpse of Jesus and of our being made into His image and of His promise to love, restore, and heal.
Home is something we belong to and something that belongs to us in Christ.
We realize that we are a long way from Eden, our original home, where we were meant to walk in unbroken fellowship with God. And ever since sin separated us, we are homesick for heaven where suffering, temptation, doubt, and injustice are absent. Although we try, through worldly pleasures, accomplishments, or concoctions to numb the pain, we simply can’t come home to life as it was meant to be, forever.
But Jesus, the only One who could, has made a way. His light cuts through the dark and extends a hand of invitation. He calls us by name and says that we belong to Him. He doesn’t invite us to a perfect place in the here and now; if we identify with Him, we will be as strangers on this earth, still touched by sorrow, loss, perhaps injustice and persecution. But hope endures and will carry us on to our heavenly home, the imperishable place we have held in our hearts all along. Jesus is already drawing plans for rooms to house the eternal joys and togetherness of everyone who has trusted in His name.
He is building a very good home.
Jesus’ promise in John 14: Do not let your heart be troubled. You have put your trust in God, put your trust in Me also. There are many rooms in My Father’s house. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going away to make a place for you. After I go and make a place for you, I will come back and take you with Me. Then you may be where I am. You know where I am going and you know how to get there.
Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way to get there?” Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can go to the Father except by Me.
2 Corinthians 5:1 ~ For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
Hebrews 11: 8 – 10 ~ By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God. (The Message)