FINDING A SPIRITUAL HOME
Today’s Bible Reading: Psalm 84:1–12
What associations come to mind when you think of home? For most of us, home offers more than a series of rooms in which we keep our stuff; it offers us a place to be ourselves. Home provides a place of security where we can work on becoming the whole persons we want to be. As one writer put it, “Home is the place you spend the first 18 years of your life trying to get out of, and the rest of your life trying to get back to.” This songwriter saw the temple in Jerusalem as one version of his earthly home, because that’s the place where God was represented. He was even jealous of the birds, because they were allowed to live in such close proximity to the temple and the altar. He longed for the days when he could spend time in the temple courts, worshiping God and communing with his fellow believers. How many of us would say that we’d rather spend a single day in God’s house than a thousand days elsewhere? Yet this kind of hyperbole demonstrates the writer’s passion for worshiping God.
In many ways this psalm provides modern readers with a picture of heaven and the new kingdom on Earth after Jesus’ return. As children we all imagine what heaven will be like—fields of candy, pools to splash in for eternity, toys galore. As we get older and more mature, we come to understand that heaven will be a place of purposeful activity as we spend eternity in the presence of God. In effect, Christians spend their entire lives on Earth getting ready to “graduate” to their heavenly home. As St. Augustine put it, “We have no rest until our hearts find rest in Thee.”
But don’t be fooled into thinking that heaven is some far-away place with no connection to the real world. Just as people can create their own version of hell on Earth through addiction, crime, unfaithfulness and sin, so people who know God’s mercy and peace in their life can experience a foretaste of heaven on Earth. In a sense, coming “home” to God can begin long before we enter heaven. To those who faithfully follow him, God promises his joy and presence here and now.
In the context of this psalm, the old adage “Home is where the heart is” takes on a whole new level of meaning. Are you longing to get back to the home you once knew? Or are you looking ahead to a home in heaven that will provide your only lasting source of rest and fulfillment?
To Take Away
- When was the last time you experienced a deep longing for God?
- How can you rekindle—or experience for the first time—a real yearning to be close to God?
- What prevents you from returning home to deal with your past, present or future? What’s keeping you from turning to God to deal with those issues in your life?