I thought about the concept of home recently. It felt as though I’d been chasing ‘home’ for years.
It’s funny because I ran from the concept as a teen–desperate for independence and an opportunity to build my own. I was blissfully unaware that in a few short years I would be willing pay for the chance to have a home. Not a place to live–a home.
A place where there’s an automatic place for you at the table, in a bed, in the living room, and in the hearts of all who live there. Somewhere where you are expected to be every night. If someone is in a gift-giving mood, there will be one for you.
You get to eat dinner piping hot. It’s not pulled out of a microwave as though they didn’t expect you to show up. You’re more than a resource, you are part of the family. You can kick your feet up. You don’t have to ask what the rules are because you played a part in making them.
Every guest who walks through the door knows who you are. Well since my mom died, I’ve tried to recreate that many times. And I’ve been sort of successful.
I tried in college, hosting dinners with friends. I tried in NYC by having sleepovers with friends and cooking breakfast. I tried in VA by forming a family with my husband and taking care of our baby. I tried by looking forward to a home where our names are the only ones on the lease. Where my socks slide across the floor of my own living room. Where the walls are ours to decorate. And the closets are meant for our possessions.
I thought of Jesus and how he came to Earth. I wondered how he felt about the relationships he had–with family, with friends, with strangers. Though of course, no one was really a stranger to him.
I wondered if he ever struggled with hanging in the balance. He knew that he would be on Earth for an allotted time and that all of his relationships were temporary. One thing I love about Jesus is that He didn’t respond the way that I would to a situation like this.
My response would be to retreat. I would have as little communication as possible. I would try very hard not to depend on anyone and make it difficult for others to depend on me. I would have in the back of my mind that they’d have gaping holes once I left so to avoid that they should seek help and consistency elsewhere.
When Lazarus died in the bible, Jesus wept with the family. He knew the end result would be that Lazarus would be raised to life by him but he still felt the raw emotion. This tells me that Jesus didn’t just interact with people. He didn’t just make friends and followers. No, He established intimate relationships with people. He confided in people and did life with them.
Jesus made himself vulnerable, open, and available to others. He wasn’t just a resource for healing and power, he was a precious friend and leader. He viewed the end of his life as his last chance to wring out every ounce of love, forgiveness, and goodness onto everyone around him. While hanging on the cross, Jesus prayed for his abusers and ministered to a thief who hung on a cross next to him.
Jesus used every breath of life to do the will of the father and he was able to because he knew that God was His home. Whether he was just visiting on Earth or biding his time in heaven until the second coming, he knew it was a privilege to love with everything he had.
I am grateful for that lesson. As I build the kingdom of God, I must be confident that God is my home. Whether I am visiting on Earth, seeing people and feeling left out. Or whether I am in heaven one day living a life of unhindered service to God–I need to love with the love of God. I need to live life wrung out and continually refreshed by His presence. This is the life Jesus died that I might have–an abundant life spent in relationship with Him.
I am grateful for my family on Earth but also an international family of believers.
“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.”
– Philippians 4:13 MSG
http://bible.com/97/php.4.13.msg”Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”
– Romans 12:12 MSG