March 17, 2013

homesick

My Farmer taught from 1 Peter this morning in Sunday School.  We are sojourners, aliens, Peter reminds us.  This world is not our home.  We come from Heaven and everything here falls short.

"Write a letter home," my Farmer suggested, and handed paper around.  "Have you ever lived in another culture," he asked us, "even for a couple of weeks?  Pretend this, here, is that other culture, and write home to your Daddy about it."

I've lived in other cultures.  A winter in Baltimore, on the wrong side of town.  Eight months in Guatemala City.  Several semesters in a southern college town.  A summer in Georgia.  Two lonely years in Japan.

But lately I've been feeling more homesick than ever before in my life.  I don't have a death-wish, exactly, but I yearn for heaven, for a closeness to my Father that is unimpeded by earthly distractions and my own sin.  To be with him, to enjoy him, to know for the first time in my life the true depth of his love for me.  To be done with tired, and with tears.  That's what I'm made for; that's what my Home is like - joy, peace, authentic worship, unfettered communion with the Lover of my soul.

So unlike life here.

It was easy to write my letter.

Dear Daddy,
   I want to go home.  The people here don't know how to love.  They judge, take offense, are selfish and fearful and arrogant.  No one smiles very much, not like you.  No one seems to notice all the beauty you've made for them.
   It's all rubbing off on me.  I miss you - but I'm distracted with trying to fit in here - trying to belong. I find myself competing, wanting to be like them instead of like you.  I forget what you're like, sometimes.  I know you said I could call anytime, and I haven't lately.  I don't write very often, either, and although I read your letters when they come (thank you!), when I put them away, I usually forget what you wrote.
   I don't want to become like them.  I'm tired and confused and forgetful of my mission.
   Can you help me?

I went down to the service a little more raw than usual.  "Soon we will be coming home", we sang, and I couldn't keep back the longing tears.  The pastor spoke of Jesus' agony in Gethsemane and I cried again, to know that he, too, wanted out.  Yes, he chose obedience, but he so intensely desired to avoid it that he cried aloud and sweated drops of blood.  My God was human, too.


I am here on assignment, like Jesus was.  My assignment might look easy to you, but I am so weak that it seems hard to me.  I want to choose obedience, like Jesus did, but I long, some days, to give up, to be able to go back home to my Daddy where all is right again.


A lady at the grocery store this week struck up a conversation with me.  She mentioned working with music and I asked what she does.  "I sing for the dying," she said.  I could not imagine more beautiful work to do.  I told her about the time my daughters sang for me, and we both got goosebumps.

I would love to be sung right into heaven, into my Daddy's waiting arms, to hear him say, "There, there - it's all over now, you're home again.  You did good; I'm proud of you."  (that last I can hardly type; it feels like heresy to claim that for myself.)

But for now, I'm still here.  So are you.  Maybe you're homesick, too.


Sugar asked me one time - or was it Spice? - why God put us on earth in the first place.  Not why he made us, but why he didn't just make us and plop us in heaven, where we belonged.  Why subject us to life on earth, first?  I told her I didn't know (and I still don't) but that maybe it was because we appreciate something so much more when we've felt its lack, longed for it, and worked hard for it.


Maybe we can help each other, while we wait ... and maybe in the helping, we'll see that that's why we're here.

When we arrive at eternity's shore,
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more,
We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring -
Your bride will come together and we'll sing ... You're beautiful!
           [by Phil Wickham]



4 comments:

  1. Lorena, thanks so much for sharing. Sometimes for me, I get so focused on life here and all the "things" I think I need to get done, that I Forget this is not my home. And I love that Phil Wickham song. Everytime we sing it in church and get to that line, I can feel my heart soar, and it brings tears to my eyes. Here's to marching on....towards that sweet reward! :)

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    1. So hard to keep perspective, isn't it? Especially in this full stage of life. We all need other believers to help us! There's a very small slice of a Bible story that has been precious to me in the past few years - Exodus 17:12 - where Aaron and Hur hold up Moses' hands so that the Israelites can win the battle, and give him a stone to sit on, because Moses is too tired to do it by himself. I am so grateful that God has given us each other!! We march together! :)

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  2. Cousin, this is poignent to me on multiple levels today.

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    1. I wish we could get together and sing. Somehow making music helps. And children, with their eternal optimism.... Praying for you, for light, hope, resurgence of joy.

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