Have you ever felt it? That gnawing feeling? The irrational impulse that drives you in a single moment of frustration, to throw everything off the table in a wild tantrum and run? Or perhaps it’s more of the quiet despair in your chest that you feel in a moment when you were perfectly fine seconds ago. You know which one I’m talking about, it’s that desire to just GO. To go and to keep going until you find it: Home.
You know the one, the place where you just feel the release in your chest, where you can drop your boots and your pack and heave a sigh and just say “I’m Home” the place where, you’re not even sure where it is, but you’ll know it when you find it.
It’s the place I’ve spent my whole life searching for.
Growing up, we didn’t travel very far, my dad worked hard, time was scarce, and with so many kids, money was often tight. But when we did travel, it was always the highlight of my year, I would sit and stare out those van windows for hours on end, soaking in every new detail. Every new experience. I didn’t want to ever forget anything.
I remember the year that we went to Seattle to visit my granddad, I was so excited to see the ocean, I was one of the first kids out of the van, taking off over the dunes as fast as my feet would go. I ran straight into the waves, the cold shocked the breath out of me, but adrenaline soon restored it. By the time my mom had gotten there with my bathing suit, I was already soaked, and covered in crusty sheets of wet sand. It was bliss.
We spent the day there, dancing among the waves, piling high the sand castles, stock piles of shells, and my sisters proudly displaying the starfish that they had found.
The delight and enthusiasm of the trip never wore off, the whole trip was something I would never forget. But then, it was time to go home.
The drive home across 3 states was exhausting, and I squabbled with my siblings most of the way, got in trouble more than once, and finally resorted to sulking. I didn’t want to go home, but I also didn’t want to stay in Washington either. I wasn’t satisfied either way.
And that’s just it, I wasn’t satisfied, I didn’t want to go to one place, but I didn’t want to stay in one place either. I was restless, I just wanted to travel, I wanted to see everything that was out there.
This consuming Wanderlust is something I have struggled with for the majority of my life. From a very young age, the small town I was raised in ceased to feel like home. I began to avoid going back to my house, I stayed out later and later at night; walking the trails in the hills above my house, or riding my bike through the streets I wasn’t supposed to be on. Some nights, I would simply hide in the park across from our house. All because home, didn’t feel like home.
Even as I got older, I continued to struggle, I would spend weekends at my brother’s house 50 miles away, or I would take long drives after work. Anything to avoid going back to my house.
I began to travel a bit more, seeing more places-new places-more frequently. Enjoying the high of being free and being away… But, a pattern soon began to emerge: I would go to a new place, and I would be happy, enthralled with the excitement of it all. But the highs became shorter, and, I would soon crash, quickly becoming discontent with my surroundings; like any addiction, I needed more.
And Here’s why: See, after the fall of Mankind, when sin entered the world, Earth was no longer fit to be our eternal home; the place for spirit to abide. Our paradise was gone.
Que the onset of the restless, ever since paradise was taken, Man has been looking for his Home, because there is something deep within each and every one of us that knows that there is more beyond the life we know now...and we can’t be satisfied with it- nor were we ever meant to be!
So we keep searching- we keep climbing, striving after something that will relieve the cavernous longing within, that
Yet we can search until the eye is dim, and our legs can no longer carry us up the mountains, but only when we quiet our hearts, stop running, stop striving, stop denying can the truth emerge. The quiet truth that Jesus Christ is the only one capable of meeting our needs.
Our need for adventure, our need for more, our need for that perfect place to call “Home.” Jesus is so aware of this very fact, that in John 14, verses 2-4, He says this: “My Father’s place has many mansions...and I go to make ready a [perfect]home for you. And when it is ready, I will come again and take you to it, that you may abide with me.”
(John 14:2-4 ESV paraphrased)
Jesus’ mission on earth was not just to save the world from their sin, but also to make for us a perfect home where we can dwell in wholeness, completion, and perfect unity with our Creator. A place where we can rest and be at rest. A place to abide and be in communion with the Father of Lights. A place where we are satisfied.
All the mountains and waterfalls and travels across gorgeous Earth cannot compare nor suffice to the glory that awaits us in Paradise.
Heaven is our eternal home, it is the place that our hearts search for so desperately here on earth, never to be quite satisfied. Oh! How we long to go home! But why? Why is this desire for “Home” so crucial? Why is this drive so passionate and refuses to be deterred? I believe it isn’t so much as the place, that we long for, but rather what is at that place. For in our Eternal, Heavenly Home, are all our loved ones, there is no pain, no loss, there is ultimate fulfillment, and above all, there is our Creator; the one for whom our spirits have searched since we lost the direct connection with Him in Eden millennia ago.
He is “Home.”
Return with me now, if you will, to my earlier story on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. We spent the entire day playing on that beach, we didn’t leave until the sun started to go down. And I remember, how I wore myself out playing in that cold water and burying myself in the sand. And I remember how I was getting tired and I was cold. And I remember reaching up and taking my daddy’s hand, it was so big and warm. And I remember, how we just stood there, our feet in the sand, with the water still swirling about our ankles as we watched my siblings jump in and out of the crashing waves.
Looking back, that was one of the best moments of my life; not because we were in a new place, not because it was an adventure, but because I was at rest. Because I was content to abide with my daddy, knowing that he loved and cared for me, and everything he did was for my wellbeing. And that felt like Home.
It brings me to a single revelation, the exact thing that I have, through many (probably unnecessary) words, have been trying to say through this whole page, and that is this:
Home, is where our Father is. It is where our soul longs to be.
Not long ago, I had an opportunity to spend the morning with my niece, giving my sister (a busy mother of 2) a chance to rest up a little.
While most of our time consisted of the expected activities one would use to keep a 3 year old busy, (such as drawing, finger paints, PlayDough etc.) there happened a brief moment that for me, was completely unexpected.
We’d been coloring, and Asha was showing me the Bible drawing book she had made at Sunday school, when the following conversation ensued:
“Auntie Joy?” “Yes my girl?” “Do you know why Jesus died for us?” “Why?” “Because he loved us so much, more than mommy loves me, and he wanted to save us from our deadness.” “That’s right Bean.” (Asha was getting excited at this point) “And, and, He loved us so much! Jesus is so good! He’s so good Auntie Joy, He’s just so good I want- I just want to jump!” (at this point she was literally bouncing in her seat) I laughed, and she went back to coloring, but still bouncing, and still occasionally remarking about the goodness of Jesus.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, but her words continued to flow throughout my consciousness the rest of the afternoon, convicting my heart.
Later that evening, as I thought over the events of the day, tears pricked the corners of my eyes.
The same conviction that had struck me earlier that morning now hit me again, with an intensity I was unprepared for.
The enthusiasm with which a child had reveled in the goodness of her Creator. There was a time, I remembered, when I was that child. Unabashed about my convictions, enthused in my faith and desiring only to worship my Creator. Where was that person now I wondered? How long had it been since I had stopped to appreciate the goodness of my Father? His grace? His unending Love? Or even the fact that the Son of Glory Himself chose to die to save ME from my “deadness”?
How many times in my busy schedule had I made the time to talk to my redeemer? -Oh sure, there’d been the quick hurried prayer or two throughout my day. But how long had it been since I had just pressed into Jesus?
The sudden realization came: I had become as the Israelites of Old... I, had forgotten God.
Not to say that I had forgotten his existence, but rather, that I had forgotten his wonder. See, the Goodness of God, which is so prevalent all around us, had become monotony for me.
And when we forget God, we forget how much we need him.
The tears flowed freely as I looked back over the last few months. Things had become chaotic. My schedule was crazy, emotionally, mentally, physically- and really-spiritually, I was drained. I felt like I had noting left to give, yet my job, my life, my health and my routines all kept demanding more of me.
So I kept giving and giving and giving but I was never being replenished. No wonder I was so exhausted.
That night, I stopped. I stopped running, I stopped trying, and I stopped thinking I had to do it all myself. Instead, I took some deliberate time to seek out my Heavenly Father. And oh! It was so good!
In the presence of my Abba Father, I found wholeness, I found the rest that I had been striving for amidst my chaos, I found peace, and yes, I found joy... I found, in truth, the goodness of God.
I still have to be continually reminded to lean into him, to retrieve his goodness, and to be refreshed. But oh, how patient He is with this child.
He is so good, He is just so good.