“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your home.” Psalm 84:1-4
After over a year away, I returned home when I never expected I would; home to the land of my birth. What an overwhelming sense of joy, hardly explainable, to touch down on American soil. I had traversed a year of combat in Vietnam and returned home! Glenda and I have just returned home after a month away. Glenda’s anticipation of coming home is palpable! We visited the Isle of Patmos, as you read last week. The beloved disciple, John, also had the joy of returning to his loved congregations and sons and daughters in the faith after years in exile on this island. I am certain his homecoming was met with tears and hallelujahs of great joy, as well as the tears of joy of St. John himself. You know the special feeling of returning home after a time away; hugging loved ones, sleeping in your own bed, and loving the very sense of “being home.”
Our homes, in almost every case, wherever it is, warms our heart, and, especially when we are separated from it, our hearts yearn for home! It is a delight to return home in one fashion or another, even for those who do not or know not how to express their sense of warmth and joy in “coming home.” Every human being yearns for home or a home that is theirs! This Psalm captures the longing of the soul for home, and acknowledges the place of the soul’s bottom-line yearning: the home where God dwells. This yearning is what drives the essentially spiritual soul of every human being; even the atheist who denies the existence of any gods, yearns for what drives his very being, though he does not, and refuses to, understand it.
All of us are always on our way home, even though the intermediate experience of coming home is a real but temporary joy. In the believer whose vision of the future is framed by faith, the intermediate joys of coming home are intended to whet their appetite for the courts of the living God, and the Savior’s presence, who died for them. Eternal life should not be feared as an ethereal place of “who knows what,” but rather a “coming home” to what you have always yearned, even ached, to see and be. This is why God gives us homes, and the feelings that accompany “coming home” today, that we may with the Psalmist yearn for our home in the dwelling place of God. Do not let another experience of “coming home” and the feelings that accompany it go by without exercising your faith to acknowledge your real home, anticipating it with increasing, desiring joy. (See Titus 2:11-14, I Corinthians 1:7).
Such an exercise of your faith will enlighten and create a picture acquainted with reality, which the Bible reveals to its faithful reader and devourer, that God’s dwelling place, His home, is your home, the place that exceeds every joy and sense of well-being and safety that you have ever felt in “coming home” to your temporary home on this present earth. And to those who struggle to find such a place here and now, a place which warms your heart and satisfies every longing, you may have by active and living faith in Jesus a real home to anticipate, one which exceeds every imagination you have or could ever have.
Do not waste the joys of “coming home” to the here and now! Use them by faith for the anticipation of what awaits you in the future certainty of your true home, sweet home.
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