General —

Longing For Home

Reflections on the Christian’s true home from God’s Word

It is easy to forget that the Bible traces the story of a displaced people. When God sent Adam and Eve from the garden, humanity began its search for home. Cain was made to wander the earth, Joseph was trafficked to Egypt, Naomi migrated to escape famine, Israel was exiled to Babylon and Jesus was a child refugee. The trend continues today, with more people displaced than ever before. 

This pattern reflects the spiritual nature of humanity, we live in a land not our own, all feeling a sense of restless wandering. Though we try to build the perfect home we are always left wanting. Paint peels, walls weaken, family frustrates. We repair, replace, and renovate but that sense of perfect belonging remains elusive. Over the past year our homes have been both a shelter and a prison. The ‘Stay At Home’ message was a source of great distress for some and joy for others, but most of us were confronted with a desire to escape at one point or another. 

women in asia
women in asia

Why is home such a powerful yet elusive concept for us? Augustine observed, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you”. Both the comfort and dissatisfaction we feel from our homes point to our desire for a different, deeper home. We find ourselves homesick for a place we have never been. Like the Prodigal Son in a distant land, we too long to be in our Father’s house.

What keeps us away? Whilst many people today have been forced from their land by man–made or natural disasters, humanity’s exile from God is by choice. We choose exile every time we appoint ourselves as ruler instead of submitting to the King. However, the Lord has given us both a promise of a perfect home and a map showing us how to get there. Our original home was the garden, but our future home is the garden city. Revelation 21 paints a glorious picture of this place with no crying, pain or death – a place with a river as bright as crystal, a great street of gold, and a family from every corner of the earth. Above all, God Himself will live among us. 

We look forward to this promised home, but how are we to live in the meantime? As exiles, we might retreat and find shelter from this world. However, we are also ambassadors of God’s kingdom in this foreign territory, tasked to work in this world to signal future perfection, inspiring a longing in every heart to meet our glorious King. We do this through stewarding the earth (Gen. 1:28), loving God and others (Matt. 22:37–39) and making disciples (Matt. 28:19). 

This can mean using our businesses to empower the vulnerable, our relationships to heal the broken, or our time to serve both the physically and the spiritually displaced. In the garden city there will be no vulnerable, broken, or displaced, because not only will the earth be made new, but we will be too. Though displaced people’s homes may be destroyed, and ours may deteriorate, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23). 

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