Longing For Home

By Dot Bowen

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10 (NIV)

“Mom, what do you want for Mother’s Day?”

“Doris Ann, I don’t need anything. I just want you to come home.”

As I remember my mom this Mother’s Day, I’m reminded that all she ever wanted was to have her children home. With each year that passes, the more I understand her request. I can still see my mom sitting on her sofa in the living room waiting for us to come home. My sisters still live in Chattanooga. I love my sisters dearly and enjoy being with them, but Chattanooga just isn’t the same for me. The house I grew up in and the school I attended seem so much smaller than I remember. And when I drive around Chattanooga with my sister, I think to myself, Did I really live here? So I can relate to Abraham feeling like a stranger in a foreign country. Have you ever wondered why Abraham couldn’t call any place home? Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, but lived most of his life in the land of Canaan. He was a very wealthy livestock owner, the founder of the Jewish nation, respected by others, had a very unique relationship with God, and is known today as a man of great faith. As prosperous as Abraham was, he lived in tents. Abraham was consistent; wherever he found himself, he would pitch his tent and build an altar to worship God. Abraham had everything but a son. He begged God to give him a son! With each passing birthday, he became more desperate.

Eventually, Abraham did have children. Ishmael, his first son, was born out of impatience. And then came Isaac, the son God promised. As far as the eye could see, Abraham was blessed with all the material possessions a person could possess. And yet even after he received his most prize possession—a son—Abraham longed for something else. What else could he want? Abraham wanted to be with His God. As wealthy as he had become, he longed for God more than anything he possessed. As the days and years passed, Abraham longed more and more for heaven!

As a follower of Christ, I need to ask myself, “Where is home?” As strange as Chattanooga seems when I visit, shouldn’t Atlanta feel just as uncomfortable? The older I get and the more I watch the news, it is obvious this is not heaven! If you struggle to find contentment in your heart, you are in the process of learning there’s more to life than living here.

As I reflect on Mom telling me she didn’t need anything—she just wanted me to come home—I wonder if Jesus would say exactly the same thing? “Doris Ann, or Sugar Pie as He calls me, I don’t need anything. I just want you to come home!” Jesus prayed for His followers in John 17:14-16, “…for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” If you ever wonder why it’s so difficult to enjoy this world, now you know why! You are not home; you are only passing through in this life. (2 Corinthians 5:1) And until the day God calls us home, we will struggle with a longing for more. I know my mom is having a wonderful Mother’s Day in her real home, and she still doesn’t need anything. She’s just waiting for me to come home.

Further Reading

Genesis 11-25; Hebrews 2,6,7,11; John 17; 2 Corinthians 5:1