2008-06-19 - Home
Originally Published 2002-03-21
Heb 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (NAS)
Hebrews chapter 11 speaks a great deal of faith. And one thing we as believers have faith in is a home forever with Jesus Christ. There are things that will hold us here: family, close friends and special places we visit. But even these things fade from time to time and this world just seems to weigh on us. Our hearts and minds lean toward home, knowing with full assurance that it is even more real than the reality we see and touch today.
We want to bring friends and family with us. While God made us for fellowship with Him, He has made us to fellowship with each other too. The heartbreak of losing someone special to you is hard enough knowing it will only be temporary. Being able to hold on to the hope of seeing them again in Heaven is all that makes a funeral tolerable for me. The thought of losing someone without that hope is devastating. Knowing that that friend or loved one is kept safe and happy, no longer limited by this physical realm is a comfort and an investment in the place we will call home for all eternity.
Jesus promised his disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. John was permitted a glimpse of that amazing city we will inhabit. The only value things have there, are to reflect the glory of God. Streets made of gold so pure it is transparent, twelve enormous foundation stones of spectacular color and twelve huge pearls that make the gateways into the city are just a few of the elements we are told to expect. While these things would be priceless in this world, they are splendid building materials in the next world. I'm sure that mortal words were pale representations of the memories that John tried to convey to us.
Jesus promised to walk with us in this life helping us along the way. We often struggle in our own power as we fend off the trials of this life. There are times He simply picks us up and carries us when we are battered beyond our ability to help ourselves. There are the mountain top experiences where Jesus seems to be just beyond our ability to see as He sits with us in praise. All these moments are stops on the road home.
Paul reminds us that we are just passing through this world. We are strangers and aliens here, sometimes homesick. And finally Jesus promised to receive us into eternal life Himself as we pass from this life. He has promised us wonders for eternity as we come to know His infinite character better each day. He has promised us judgment for our sins, but has also promised that our eternal destiny is safe with Him. There will be rewards for the faithful. And the things done in secret for Him, those who served in the shadows, will be made public. He has promised to wipe away all the tears, suffering and sadness we have known and will know.
1 Thess 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NAS)
Lord Jesus - there are times when the promises of home seem to be all that keeps us going. The caring of close friends and the comfort of Your promises fill us back up and keep us walking. Thank You for the glimpses we have been allowed to share. Amen.
Grace & Peace,