I have a clear memory from my early childhood of waking up sick in the middle of the night and calling out to my Mom. As she was caring for me I can remember saying through my moans of discomfort, “I want to go home…I want to go home.” I also remember Mom responding; “you are home, honey.” I think the reason this memory is seared into my mind is because of how bizarre my statement was. As I was saying, “I want to go home” I can remember thinking, “why am I saying this, we are in our house.”
Several years ago, reflecting on this moment as an adult, I think I figured myself out. I believe the reason for my statement that night was because I intuitively knew “home” is where everything should be right. Home should be a haven where all is well. I knew in that moment I was not well and home no longer felt like home.
The sense that our home is a place where all should be well is, as one writer put it, an “echo of Eden.” The Garden of Eden was an abode that God prepared for His people. It was a place of fullness, peace, and rhythm. The Hebrew word for this is Shalom. God dwelled with His people in Eden and all was well. Yet, our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God and were exiled from the garden (Gen. 3).
Ever since, the world hasn’t been right (Rom. 8:20-22) and there hasn’t been a home established that has known the Shalom we were intended to experience. This is the reality I was facing that night as a child. The home I lived in, although wonderful and a blessing, would not be free from sin, suffering, and pain. We all joined in the rebellion with our first parents (Rom. 3:23). Tragedy. We have forsaken God seeking something better. The fruit of that attempt is death. To turn from God, the giver of life, always results in death. Yet, that’s not the end of the story.
But God sent Jesus to rescue. Jesus came as the Second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) and He never rebelled against God the Father, but instead always did His Will. Earning the Father’s blessing, Jesus went to the cross and was cursed for us and our rebellion (Gal. 3:13). The very curse of the ground was placed upon His head in the crown of thorns to display this (Gen. 3:18, Matt. 27:29). In Jesus, the curse is reversed. Jesus is the seed that went into the ground and brought forth new life (John 12:24). On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead as the firstfruits of a new people (1 Cor. 15:20).
In Jesus, there will be a new people prepared to be in God’s presence once again. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place, a new home (John 14:1-3). A home that is truly home, where God’s people dwell in God’s presence experiencing Shalom and the fullness of joy. A place where sin, shame, sorrow, and death will be no more. A place where the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the lame will walk. A place where Christ will wipe the tears from His people’s eyes and make all things new (Rev. 21:1-5).
I find myself longing for home once again. Today would have been my Mom’s 60th birthday. I miss her greatly.
Let me be candid, if I didn’t really believe what I wrote above I would often be in a perpetual state of despondency or cynicism. Yet, I sincerely believe what I’ve written. If you know my Mom’s story you know she had an eight year battle with cancer. Due to the cancer and treatments she suffered impaired speech, a very limited diet eventually leading to feeding tube nourishment, and chronic pain among other things. As if her previously limited diet wasn’t hard enough, Mom didn’t eat anything by mouth the last two years of her life because she wasn’t able to sufficiently swallow. However, she said she missed being able to kiss the grandkids and being able to sing more than she missed eating. Due to multiple surgeries on her mouth she was no longer able to form her lips in order to give a kiss. She also was no longer able to sing because her voice lost its vigor (probably a side effect of the radiation in her neck area). I say all this to say, I was homesick before her death. For example, every meal of celebration with the family; birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas there was a reminder that all was not well because Mom couldn’t eat. Today there is still the reminder of an empty seat.
All things new.
That is my hope. Christ will return setting all things right and restoring Shalom. On that day, Mom will greet loved ones with a kiss, join the heavenly choir singing worthy is the Lamb, and she will sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and dine with her King. If the Lord allows, I’ll sit near her and watch in awe as she takes her first bite.
Do you have this hope? It can be yours if you will repent of your sin and trust Jesus for salvation. It brings me no joy to tell you, if you are unwilling to humbly look to Christ for salvation you have no hope (Rev. 20:15). Look to Christ!