Home Is Where God Is
I rang in the new year laying on a hospital bed wondering if I would survive the night. I prepared my eight-year-old daughter for the possibility that I might not. And while you can never be fully prepared for the enormity of losing someone that precious, those tender moments that we shared brought me (and I believe my daughter) a peace that passes all understanding.
After 10 hours in an emergency room I was admitted for observation where I spent another 10 hours. I imagine most people could think of many other places that they would rather be ringing in the New Year. The only place I wanted to be was home.
In between every needle poke cringe and bewildered viewing of ultrasonic waves showcasing the inside of my body, I prayed that God would just bring me home.
Obedience In Sickness
I trusted that God’s will would prevail, so I endured the unpleasant and painful experiences that are inevitable in these circumstances. Like when the radiologist instructed me to sign an informed consent allowing an iodine-based dye injection to be shot through my veins and then proceeded to describe in detail the procedure and side effects.
She began with orders to lie on a table that was protruding from a giant doughnut-shaped machine. Next, I was told that I would hear buzzing as I slowly moved through a scanner where X-rays would rotate around my body. I was then told that it’s normal to experience a very “warm feeling” throughout my body after the contrast traveled through my blood and as the warmth spiraled down I would feel as if I wet myself, but “don’t worry,” she said in her best reassuring voice “That’s just how you will feel. It doesn’t really happen.”
Like a lamb led to slaughter, without uttering a word I laid my body on the table and awaited my fate. To quiet the ringing and forgot all that I was just told, I closed my eyes until the procedure was finished and repeatedly told Jesus how much I loved Him and how desperately I longed to be home. “I love you, Jesus. Please, Father, bring me home.” I prayed that prayer like a broken record.
I know that one of the reasons Jesus died for me was so that disease would one day be destroyed. I know that the pain I suffer from physical sickness in my earthly life is temporary. I know there will come a day when sickness will be no more.
Longing For Home
My longing for God to take me home is not necessarily a longing for my eternal Home.
Recently I was driving with my daughter during a snowstorm on icy roads and rain pouring so heavy that I couldn’t see what was in front of me. My only priority was to get home so I prayed, Jesus take the wheel and, God, please get us home.
Home, for me, is joyful peace, yet more often than not when I finally make it home, I’m met with a comforting familiarity but not contentment.
Arriving home after my hospital visit left me with that perpetual inconsequence I experience in my mundane life routines and daily grind of parenting. My puppy’s biting and high-pitched continuous attention-demanding barking quickly annoyed me. My daughter’s impulsivity and impatience weakened me. The household chores that were neglected in my absence and now staring me in my face discouraged me. Considering the competing demands of my schedule ahead exhausted me. The fact that my home, where I so desperately wanted to be, left me longing for more crushed me.
So Easily Pleased
Most people want happiness in life. Few know where to find it. Many search for happiness in money. Others search for it in their marriage, children or friendships, drugs or alcohol, power, prestige or position, sex or food. There are countless idols that people place in their lives above God.
During my hospital discharge process, I asked the nurse if he knew Jesus. He said yes, so I asked him how he knows Jesus. He shared how he had survived many situations where he should have been left for dead, but he knew God carried him through every trial. He told me how sad it is that so many people don’t know the love of Christ.
The hospital was recently renovated through a $450 million construction project, which included a new building with state-of-the-art technology and furnishings as well as private patient rooms each equipped with a shower and bathroom and a lounging/sleeping area for families. The old hospital had semi-private rooms with one bathroom per floor.
The nurse told me that prior to the renovation patients always requested a bigger room but post-renovation, it isn’t enough that the room is private with luxury accommodations, now their only request is that they have a room with a “water view”.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
And so it goes. We journey through life with that insatiable desire for something more. It’s as if we’re living through the faith-shaking days of the Babylonian exile. Sojourning through life as exiles never feeling connected to our homeland.
It’s an overarching Bible theme from Genesis to Revelation. The exile in the Garden of Eden and perfect unity with God symbolizing humanity’s exile of heaven and earth being separated from each other. ― The Bible Project, The Exile of All Humanity
I lived briefly as an expatriate in Europe. I never quite fit in. Between the cultural and ethnic mix, I longed for home. But every time I returned home, I still felt incomplete. The peace I desired eluded me once I made it home. I was home, but I was not Home.
Why do I feel so alone? A cardinal mystery of the universe.
The inescapable wisdom of C.S. Lewis reverberates yet again … “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I have come to know that reality that C.S. Lewis knew. I will never be truly satisfied until I am home with God. The good news is that God is with me both here on earth and in eternity.
Between The Already and Not Yet
The Apostle Paul teaches, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). So, I sojourn on this side of eternity through the sin and darkness that lives in my heart, and l rejoice in the tension between the already and not yet because God is with me here on earth and I am confident that one day I will be united with my Father in heaven for eternity.
And when that day comes the Bible says, “He will wipe every tear from my eye, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." (Revelation 21:4)
This brings me a peace that passes all understanding because I know death is my entrance to salvation. And, until that day comes I will make the most of every day on earth loving God above all else and committing to faithfully love and serve the people He has put in my life while walking in humble obedience with the Lord my God who carries me through it all.
Immanuel – God With Us
I don’t know when God will call me to my eternal home. The Bible teaches, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. (Acts 1:7)
Here on earth, through the Holy Spirit, I have Immanuel - God with us (Matthew 1:23) - and when I’m called to my eternal Home, I will have God my Father. Forever.
Either way, home is where the heart is. Home is where God is.