I’ve been thinking about “home” a lot lately. This twinge of fear that I am losing my roots, of forgetting home, of having traveled too far from home has scared me into the kitchen to learn the art of gumbo, stuffed bell peppers and one day étouffée, cabbage rolls, jambalaya and a roast all dressed up in its Sunday best.
When I think of home I am filled with such longing for the people I grew up with. People who call me as Annie Brooke with their southern drawl. People who sing songs about a slower pace of life. People who are always “doin’ jes fine, jes fine”. People who have lived in the same neighborhood, same house and can tell you stories of the evolution of their little town.
I miss the worn-in, comforting, sweetness that only home can give.
Last night, my pastor got me thinking about a different home, my real home, my future and eternal home. I wish I could say this sermon didn’t undo me as much as it actually did.
But it did.
I don’t think enough about the return of Christ. To be honest, it makes me a little nervous. It’s on the verge of fairy tale. It’s outside of what I can know and understand right now. And when something makes me a little nervous, I just don’t talk about it, think about it, or focus on it.
But last night, I was reminded of how true and hopeful this doctrine is. I was reminded what it means when Jesus returns. I was reminded that it means that all of this sorrow, darkness, and despondency I feel now and see around me will dissipate, will end, for good. I was reminded of how this eternal significance affects my here and now. I was reminded of how this truth gives me hope in the dark places. I was reminded of how, one day, all suffering will end.
He was right, suffering does push me to pray “Jesus, come quickly”.
I want to remember this when I wake up feeling fragile and weak. I want to remember this when the pain of loss makes it hard to breathe. I want to remember this when work is falling apart and when joy feels just far enough out of reach to make me want to scream. I want to remember this when I feel like life is one cruel joke on me.
I most often find myself praying for the Lord to come back when I am having a bad day. I say it out of frustration. I pray it out of my desire to escape instead of a desire to get Him.
But, more than anything, I also want to remember this when my heart is full. I want to remember this when my world feels comfortable, warm, worn in and I am just where I want to be. I want to remember this when my marriage is the best thing ever, friendships fill me to the brim, and my pot roast comes out perfectly. I want to remember that while these are good and sweet blessings, Jesus is better. I want to remember that on my very best day here, it is merely a shadow of things to come.
I’m reminded of the time Jesus said that if you don’t hate your father and mother, brother and sister, your own life, you can’t be my disciple. Jesus wasn’t actually condoning and encouraging them to hate their family. What he was saying was that your love for your family should look like hate in comparison to how much you love him. There are days when the Lord pours out grace upon my life and I love my family so much. I love Kyle so much I could just squeeze him! I love my friends and community so much that just thinking about how huge they have been for me brings tears to my eyes.
Jesus wasn’t saying this is wrong. In fact, the only way this is possible is through his sweet grace. He was saying that all of that love, all of those affections should look like hate in comparison to how much I love Him, adore Him, and treasure Him.
My prayer is that whether I am suffering or prospering, I believe with all of my heart that there is no place I would rather be than home with Him.
Jesus, come quickly.