HOME is such a simple word; only four letters, one syllable.
As a concept though, I find it a bit more complex.
Is HOME the place where we live; a structure, a space?
Do we define a HOME by a location or address; Czech Republic, 258 East Shore Drive?
Does the setting tell us more about HOME; co-inhabitants, neighborhood, ambience?
I was born and raised in Connecticut, steeped in centuries of local heritage, surrounded by generations of relatives.
For my early life, Stony Creek was clearly HOME.
In my high school years my family moved to a town 45 minutes away.
It took a while, but my parents and brothers, my school and friends were there so Milford became HOME.
Since I've been married I've lived in West Haven, New Milford, Huémoz, Chesterfield, West Bay, VW van, Weymouth, Bolton, Groton, Shirley, Acton, Prague, New Boston, and Acton.
Except for New Boston which was clearly a transitional place I called each place HOME.
Now I've returned to Acton and it's the very first time I remember sensing this internal separation.
Back in the 1st century a Roman philosopher named Pliny the Elder said, "Home is where the heart is".
The house on Loon Pond is where I breathe and eat, rise and sleep, walk and talk, listen and learn ... go about my daily life.
Yet it's clear to me that though my body resides here, my soul does not feel at HOME.
I was pondering this odd sense of personal division the other day. How can a person possibly live with their body and soul disconnected in such a painful and seemingly unnatural way?
I took my dilemma to my Abba Father as the psalmists did so long ago.
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1
Be merciful to me, O LORD; for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak. Psalm 31:9-10
Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress,
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:1-2
Slowly my anguish lessened. My thoughts began to run in a straight line. I reviewed the basic biblical truths the Holy Spirit has caused me to understand over the years. God is sovereign, loving, omniscient, omnipotent, active, faithful, kind, compassionate, merciful, . . .
The Father made me. The Son rescued me. The Spirit indwells me. One of my favorite Scriptures came to mind.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
The peace of the Almighty began to settle over me. My brooding gave way to contemplation . . .
Hmmm, maybe, just maybe . . . God has orchestrated all the details of my life to show me this very contrast. Perhaps living in one location with my heart yearning for a another is a skill I need to develop. Could it be that all of God's chosen ones are to breathe and eat, rise and sleep, walk and talk, listen and learn, ... go about our daily lives in this world while our souls are set elsewhere, heaven?
. . . and meditation.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:24-28a
Their [enemies of the cross of Christ] destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:19-20a
But in keeping with his [God's] promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
The Word seems to be telling me we are supposed to live with this distinction. It certainly would be helpful to master this mindset and heart conviction. Even as I write this post I realize the great I AM is calling me unto Himself all over again. It's a new opportunity to put down the things of this life and rest my soul in His presence. Relief arrives.
Whenever I turn to God through His Word, He hears and grants me exactly what I need. I am refreshed by this glimpse into His work in the world and specifically in me. I see a lot of hard work ahead, but I'm reminded again that God's got it all laid out and under control. Hallelujah
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6
But I call to God, and he saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17
How about you? Do you struggle with feelings of HOME?
Or perhaps your trials are in a different area.
I can assure you that God is still God. His love for you is wide and deep and high and warm. No matter what you're facing, His mercy is everlasting and available. I can confirm it.
Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you
for you will answer me. Psalm 86:7
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