One step away from coming home

William Sr. and Mary Henning at home on South Wood Street, Chicago

William Sr. and Mary Henning at home on South Wood Street, Chicago

“You’re one step away from coming home . . . One step away from arms wide open.”- Casting Crowns

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.  Even the sparrow has found a home  . . . a place near your altar.”- Psalm  84:1-3

“It was his [the Prodigal Son’s] home now.  But he could not be his home till he had gone from it and returned to it.”- G. K. Chesterton

I never knew my paternal grandfather, William Louis Henning, Sr.  On November 29, 1944,  he died suddenly in a sidewalk elevator accident.  This intensified Mary’s grief over the loss of their firstborn child, Florence, at the age of four in 1921.  Nevertheless, Mary took one step at a time as she served her Lord by cleaning homes for a living. However, her ultimate act of service and sacrifice came during my mother’s five-month sanitarium stay for tuberculosis.  On Sundays, Grandma hosted my dad (“Willie”) and me for the noon meal.  Then, on Monday, she took three buses to our house. While there, she cleaned up after two men and prepared the evening meal.

Grandma Henning navigated her physical world via the city bus system and by foot.  However, she clearly understood that God created her soul to walk with Him.  As a result, she faithfully attended Golgotha Evangelical Lutheran Church, about a two-block walk from home.  As John Ortberg writes in Soul Keeping, the soul seeks God with its whole being:

“Because it is desperate to be made whole, the soul is God-smitten and God-crazy  and God-obsessed.  My mind may be obsessed with idols; my will may be enslaved to habits . . . . But my soul will never find rest until it finds rest in God.”

Therefore, seeking God with your whole being challenges you to fill the daily moments of your life with conscious awareness and surrender to God’s presence.  Pastor Ortberg offers three premises for your consideration:

  • God wants to make every moment of my life glorious with His presence– so the brilliance of His love shines through us
  • the best place to start with God is in the small moments– we must deliberately look for God in life’s ordinary moments
  • people will look different when I see them with God– especially those people you find most difficult to love

In conclusion, John reminds us God’s love never lets us go.  He’s present in each moment:

“Your soul will never find rest unless it finds its home.  We find it in the simple daily discipline of asking ourselves, ‘Is God here in this moment?’  If he is not, he can be.”

You’re one step away from coming home.

About the author

Dave Henning

  • Avatar Pastor Rick says:

    Amen!! My grandfather loved that old song called Suppertime. Many times after his death I’d hear my Grandma who raised me singing “Come home, come home. It’s suppertime. You’re going home at last.”
    They are both home now and I know that every step I take just brings me one step closer. Thanks, David, for this awesome reminder.

  • Avatar Mickey Watley says:

    It’s good to be reminded He’s been there through all of it and will be til the end. As I age I’m blessed to feel His presence more and more, as you say, in small everyday things and big things too!


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