“You have a God who hears you, the power of love behind you, the Holy Spirit within you, and all of heaven ahead of you. If you have the Shepherd, you have grace for every sin, direction for every turn, a candle for every corner, and an anchor for every storm. You have everything you need.”- Max Lucado, Traveling Light
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, our Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body.”- Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)
My most vivid memory of my early years in my Evergreen Park home took place in the kitchen. Sitting in my highchair, I stared at my orange-juiced milk and Cheerios, illuminated by a single light from the stove to my right. Note to reader; do NOT try this at home!!
Over the years mom and dad made steady, practical improvements to the house. For example, they replace the wooden front porch with a sturdy concrete one and reconfigured the side porch with one flight of steps. Later, new cabinets graced the kitchen and a bigger refrigerator took the place of the old pantry. Finally, Alcoa aluminum provided the finishing touch to the exterior. Yet, Bill and Elinor never allowed physical improvements to supersede their faith in Jesus. All of heaven lay ahead.
Before mom and dad moved in, they prepared a special room for me. A bedroom reserved for the unique expressions of my heart. Yet, as I reflect on thirty years of memories in that house, they pale in comparison to my heavenly home. Writing in Traveling Light, based on the promise of Psalm 23, Max Lucado underscores that Jesus claimed you and named you before your birth. And, He hung a reserved sign on your room.
As Psalm 23:6 proclaims, you’ll live forever in the house of the Lord. Therefore, if heaven is your forever house, that makes this earthly house short-term housing. Consequently, this explains the homesickness we feel. Pastor Lucado extends this truth:
“The twists and turns of life have a way of reminding us — we aren’t home here. This is not our homeland. We aren’t fluent in the languages of disease and death. The culture confuses the heart, the noise disrupts our sleep, and we feel far from home. And, you know what? That’s okay. Homesickness is one of the burdens God doesn’t mind if we carry. We are being prepared for another place.”
Max tells the story of a parakeet, Pootsie, who escaped from her owner. Pootsie came into the keeping of the humane society. There she bonded with one of the workers. But, one day Pootsie flew over to the worker. Perched on her shoulder, the parakeet whispered her home address. Hence, the humane society reunited Pootsie with her owner. Above all, Max notes, God’s fixed an eternal address in your mind (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Because God’s set eternity in the human heart, Max counsels, the greatest calamity isn’t feeling far from home when you are. Rather, it’s feeling right at home where you’re not. So, don’t quench your longing for heaven. Stir it.
In conclusion, Pastor Lucado offers these words of hope:
“Just as a returning soldier drops his duffel when he sees his wife, you’ll drop your longing when you see your Father. Those who love you will shout. Those you know will applaud. But all the noise will cease when he cups your chin and says, ‘Welcome home.’ And with scarred hand he’ll wipe every tear from your eye. And you will dwell in the house of the Lord — forever.”