finally HOME!

Our lesson in Revelation this week focused on the eternal Home JESUS is preparing for us.  I was reminded of these precious thoughts that found words last fall after a treasured visit to my childhood home gave me a glimpse of my heavenly Home.  It is a joy to re-read them and share them here – may they turn all of our eyes and hearts toward HOME!

Over the summer, I had the chance to go home for a visit – to my childhood home where my parents still live.  I can’t even remember the last time I was home for longer than a rushed weekend.  This visit was different.  I was able to enjoy an entire, unscheduled week-long walk down memory lane, introducing my son to so many favorite pastimes.

From the moment we pulled in the driveway, it was obvious that careful preparation had been made to welcome us home.  The lawn and gardens were beautifully manicured, the house was spotless, the kitchen was stocked with all of our favorite foods, and the bedrooms were freshly painted, redecorated and graced with fresh flowers in my favorite colors.

As I laid my head on the pillow that very first night, in the quiet of my old bedroom, glancing at the quintessentially Pennsylvanian candlelight in the window, tears of tender appreciation welled up.  My parents know me better than anyone.  They have loved me and provided for me since before I was born.  They knew exactly what would make my homecoming so meaningful to me and it was clearly their joy to put all of those special touches in place… just for me.  I felt safe, spoiled, known, loved, valued – in a place that was freshly prepared but familiar, a place where I could leave the demands of real life behind, where I could truly REST.

In the quiet of that candlelit room, my eyes drifted from one happy aesthetic to the next, a warm, deep smile growing with each item… the delicate new sheer curtains that captured the gentle light that reminded me of so many (MANY) special, decorative touches my Mom has added to any and every occasion, my Dad’s old desk where he sat to study his Bible or to manage finances in providing for our family when I was little, the top of the dresser entirely covered with family photos, those captured and cherished moments together, and the rocking chair from Arcadia University (once Beaver College) where Dad served as the Registrar, where my sister and I worked summer jobs, and where all three of us kids eventually earned Bachelor and/or Masters degrees.

I remember my grandmother always enjoying a good rocking chair.  She was quiet but very wise.  She didn’t speak often, but when she did we listened!  When she wrote us letters, we treasured them and preserved them.  They were always beautifully scripted and packed with God’s Word.  Her life was simple, but deeply rich in love for and devoted service to her Savior.

This was the room my sister and I shared when we were young.  Before that, it was my parents’ bedroom.  I remember piling into that very same bed when frightened by a strong thunderstorm and one rare earthquake.  It has always been a safe and comforting place!  So many precious memories and so many reflections of loved ones packed into that space!  With a deep and happy sigh, I drifted off to sleep surrounded by the greatest feeling of love and appreciation for the many blessings I have received from my parents over a lifetime!

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Each night of that week at home, I lingered at bedtime, in that quiet candlelight, trying my best to stay awake long enough to soak in that overwhelming feeling of “home,” to whisper prayers of heartfelt thanksgiving to God for placing me in that home with my parents and family, for their faithfulness to Him and to their job of drawing our hearts to Him for as long as I can remember.  I was so grateful, too, for the chance to be there again, many years later, in that very same room where I woke on the first Monday morning of summer vacation when I was twelve.  That was the morning I finally realized that Jesus died for me!  When He said “it is FINISHED!” on the cross, He had satisfied the demands of a holy God for my sin and secured a home in heaven for me!  That was the morning, in that very same room, that my life took a brand new direction, when I placed my faith in my Lord and Savior, when I found peace and an eternal perspective!

In the years since then, my love for Jesus as my Savior and my Lord has grown fuller and richer!  He is walking beside me, always drawing me nearer and nearer to Him, teaching me more about Himself and about His eternal plans for me and for all of His creation.  He is expanding my view of my eternal home!  While soaking in so many wonderful things about my childhood home, I couldn’t help but flash forward to an even more thrilling homecoming!  Jesus promised us “I go to prepare a place for you… in my Father’s house are many mansions… when everything is ready, I will come again to take you with Me so you will always be with Me where I am.” [John 14]  Who knows me better or loves me more than my Creator, my Redeemer, my Counselor and Friend, my coming King?  If my earthly parents go to such lengths to welcome me home with every detail that thrills my heart, what will the Lord’s welcome be like?!

Scripture tells us that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has begun to imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him!”  [1 Cor 2:9]  We really cannot conceive of the indescribable wonder of our heavenly home.   But as I glanced around my childhood bedroom, I couldn’t help but think that it will be a place of *ultimate* love and safety and comfort, that it will be filled with all that thrills our hearts – reflections of a loving Creator, an eternal Redeemer, a wise Counselor and Friend, and a majestic King!  The centerpiece of every inch of our heavenly home will be Christ Himself!  We will never feel more welcomed and provided for and yet be completely captivated by His very Person, rather than our own feelings or comforts.  We will look around and realize this is the permanent dwelling place of God, *our* permanent dwelling place with Him!  That place where He imagined each of us from eternity past, loved us and provided for us before we were even born.  We will absolutely feel safe, spoiled, known, loved, valued – in a place that is freshly prepared but somehow familiar, a place where we will be able to leave the demands of earthly life behind, where we will truly REST. “He will bring us into His banqueting house, and His banner over us will be love.”  [Song of Solomon 2:4]  We will finally be home… and not just for a visit… we will be forever with the Lord!!!

“Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven!

Of touching a hand and finding it God’s!

Of breathing new air and finding it celestial!

Of waking up in glory and finding it HOME!”

[D. Wyrtzen & L. E. Singer]

While basking in the overwhelming joy of day dreaming about heaven, one thought pricked my heart:  THAT is the place Jesus gave up … for me!  In obedience to the Father, His only Son left that beautiful, sinless, radiant, glorious, permanent dwelling place of holy, almighty God.  He came to this broken, sin-cursed earth, to live as a Man, to experience the impact of evil on a world He spoke into existence in its purest, unmarred state.  He felt the physical, emotional and spiritual agony of the ugly and violently brutal rejection from those He created.  He was separated from His Father, totally forsaken by Him for those dark hours on the cross, bearing the penalty for my sin.  It is staggering.  It is hard to linger in these thoughts, but I don’t want to brush past them either.  It is in this sorrow that I can appreciate more fully how much Jesus loves me, how much He loves His Father, what obedience to His Father and love for me cost Him.  I can only offer pitiful thanks.

“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.  Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.  Thank you, Lord, for giving to me, Your great salvation so rich and free!”  [Seth & Bessie Sykes]

Praise God my thoughts can shift from sorrow in my Lord’s suffering to joy in His own homecoming!  “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” [Mark 16:19]  “God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a Name that is above every other name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow… and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Philippians 2:9-11]  “[Jesus] was constantly at [the Father’s] side, daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” [Proverbs 8:30]  What a homecoming!!!

And what a homecoming is waiting for us!!  Jesus, Himself, is preparing a place for us.  He is making loving preparations to welcome us home.  Every detail of His vast creation is intricate and awe-inspiring, beautiful beyond description, breath-taking, too wonderful to comprehend.  The homecoming He is preparing for us will be no different!  And the greatest blessing in that moment will be Jesus Himself! 

“Face to face with Christ my Savior, face to face, what will it be?

When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?

Face to face – oh, blissful moment!  Face to face – to see and know;

Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so!”

[Carrie E. Breck]

Tonight as I lay my head on my pillow in my own home hundreds of miles away from my childhood home, I will still whisper prayers of thanksgiving… for my Savior, for His bountiful provisions for me ALWAYS, and for a treasured visit to my childhood home that has helped me to catch a glimpse of my eternal HOME!  I can say with the New Testament believers that with each passing day, I’m a little more homesick for heaven!

“Waiting for our blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ!” [Titus 2:13]  “Encourage one another with these words.” [I Thessalonians 4:18]

Eagerly waiting to be finally HOME!

finding it Home

 

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