Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Philippians 3:20 – 21 (NIV) 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
It was October of my 9th grade year in school. We had been living in Oscoda, Michigan for 5 years, and I had made it through my middle school years because of a very strong youth group in our church. I had a very close group of friends, and we shared sports and music interests in and out of school. I was a pretty stable young man at the time because I had found acceptance from others for who I was. I was successful at sports and was exceptional in the band playing several different instruments based on the need of the director. Life was comfortable and fulfilling.
But things were about to change. We were preparing to move to a new home in a new state. We knew it was coming for several months, so I did not even bother to go out for football that year because I knew I would just have to quit the team when we left. It really bothered me to stand outside the fence and watch all of my friends at practice. I didn’t go to one game that year because it hurt too much.
My last day in school finally came. We were moving to St. Paul, Minnesota, and this would probably be the last time I would ever see any of those friends. I don’t remember any of the goodbyes that day, but I do remember crying myself to sleep that night, which is not cool for a 15-year old. But I couldn’t help it – we had not even left the town yet and I was already homesick. It didn’t matter what the new place had to offer, I knew life would never be the same because I was losing everything that was truly important to me. I wanted to hold on to it and not leave.
I have a realistic fear that many of us may feel the same way about our lives on this earth. We have found acceptance from others. We have become successful at our jobs. We have multiple opportunities to participate in recreation and hobbies. Life is comfortable and fulfilling. But for some time now we have known that we are going to be moving on. Life in this arena will not continue for much longer, and we are going to be called to a new home. We will be losing everything that has become important to us. Life will never be the same, so we try to hold on to it for as long as we can and at times we don’t even want to leave.
Mature disciples of Jesus have learned to shift their focus from the resources of this earth to the coming rewards of heaven. We are to be homesick for heaven right now. But how can we be homesick for a place that has never been home? In researching homesickness, I have discovered three basic factors that play a part in it – familiarity, friendships, and security – all of which build a comfort zone of emotional stability and connectedness for us. We are familiar with the rules and routines and have determined that they are for our good and they benefit us; we have relationships that provide emotional strength and identity; and we feel safe. In other words, our hearts have become attached to the place where we have found the treasures we need to live comfortably.
But in Christ, we have found new treasures. We are to become familiar with His rules and routine because they truly benefit us.
- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Our relationship with Him provides us with our identity and true emotional strength.
- He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:8 – 9).
In Christ we are truly safe and secure.
- We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19).
It is possible, and extremely desirable, to be truly homesick for heaven today because of the relationship we already have with Jesus. We are to be so in touch with what the new home will offer us that we won’t hold on to anything from this life when it’s time to move there.
When Jesus returns and calls us home, I wonder if any of us will be tempted to longingly look back at earth while we rise into the arms of Jesus. I doubt it. So that makes me wonder why we look so longingly at earth today instead of fixing our gaze upwards in anticipation of going home.