A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in class and we were watching a debate between an atheist and a theologian. Both of them were brilliant, absolutely brilliant men, with Doctorate degrees, and the debate was very interesting, with both sides presenting conflicting but still intertwining points. What I mean is that science and God go hand-in-hand. They were never meant to be separated or on different sides of an argument; for God created the evidence and revelation that science brings! But as we were watching and analyzing the debate and the arguments that each man brought, I had an overwhelming feeling come over me. It wasn’t an angry or a defensive stance toward the atheists view of the world, and it wasn’t even joy at the theologians explanation of God, it was an odd feeling for the moment–heartache.
But it wasn’t the debate or the fact that they were having the debate that made me feel homesick–I think debates are super important because they allow us to truly think about what we believe–it was the lack of HOPE in the air that made me long for Home.
It was heartache because I longed to be in my Father’s presence. Not my father on earth (though I would love to go home and be with him and my mom), but my Heavenly Dad. I was homesick for His presence. All at once I felt so small and alone and out of place in that classroom and I simply wanted to be with Him. The feeling was so impactful that I immediately (and not really knowing why) wrote it down in my journal.
“I really can’t wait to be in Heaven with You, God. I’m homesick for Your presence–though I’ve never been right there with You. I long for Your hug and Your smile, and to walk with You. SOON. – 1/25/18”
It wasn’t as if I felt alone or apart from God, I definitely felt His presence, I just felt homesick for Heaven. That doesn’t mean I wanted to die, it was just that in the moment I felt a longing to be Home.
And at the same time I had the thought of, “How can I be homesick for a place that I’ve never been?” I think that answer is a lot more intricate than we might think. Ultimately, it is because I know that earth (in it’s present state) is not what it was originally supposed to be like. Death and destruction, murder and slander, heartbreak and gossip were never in the original DNA of the universe. But now they are here, and we encounter them daily. So now in my life, it’s almost becoming natural to realize that this is not my home. And what a powerful recognition because it gives me hope.
But in that same thought of being “homesick for a place I’ve never been”, I realize that I actually do know what Heaven feels like because I know It exists within me. So I know that when I long for the completeness of the peace of Heaven it is because I have a taste of Heaven living in my heart already and I want it fully. Once I surrendered my heart to Jesus and His Spirit came to live in me, I knew what Heaven was and slowly but surely I’ve discovered more and more. It is peace that is protecting, hope that endures, complete love, grace unending, unwavering relationship with Father, and endless joy! So when I see anything opposite of those characteristics, I know it won’t last forever, Heaven is coming.
And now sitting here, two days after another massive shooting that has been shaking the country to its’ core and causing millions of heated arguments, I feel extremely homesick again. My heart has hurt the past couple of days just thinking about the situation and wondering where we have gone so wrong. I don’t get it, and I feel lost. I don’t want to hear another political explanation from either side. I just want us to allow Jesus’ comfort to rest over the hurting right now and I want to exist with them in their pain. Can we at least do that? Why can’t we hurt with the hurting, if not for one day? Can we love people again? Can we care for people!? Can we push past ourselves and try (just try!) to feel how others feel? I want to love people, even from afar, and mourn when they mourn and rejoice when they rejoice, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE WHAT MATTER.
Although it feels hopeless, hope is not lost. I don’t understand why things like this happen, and I don’t have an answer other than to trust that God can and is holding us in His comforting hands. Though everything on earth may fail and fade away, our God remains, and someday things will be different.
Often I wonder if Jesus felt the same way we feel throughout His time spent on earth. That answer seems simple but I think too often I overlook that fact that He went through pain (emotional, mental, spiritual, physical) just like me. I can only imagine how He felt when He looked around and saw the restlessness and pain and hopelessness on people’s faces–it had to be a bigger pain than we have ever felt because of the great depth that His love goes for each of us. His love cares for and exists for each of us on a personal level. The destruction in this world hurts Him, I know, and on a much larger scale than we know, because we are His children, something we tend to forget.
In a certain sense I imagine Jesus probably longed to be back Home sometimes, just like us, because He knew that things on earth, much like today, were not supposed to be the way the were. When Lazarus died I’m sure he had deep heartache; when He discovered the temple workers trying to politicize and warp His Father’s house I bet that hurt; when He looked into the tax collectors’ eyes, the prostitutes’ eyes, the fisherman’s eyes, even the Pharisees’ eyes, it disrupted His heart to see theirs hurting so much; and on the cross paying for our salvation and resurrection I’m sure it was painful enough to bring the feeling of Heaven back to Him.
But in all those moments He knew His role on earth and what it would bring for humanity. Jesus came to earth to heal us. He came down to meet His people with the touch of love, and that is something that can never be overlooked. He wasn’t focused on the pain that humanity caused and would continue to cause Him, He looked at us with reckless love and counted all the pain as worth it just to know us on an intimate, face-to-face level. I love that song, Reckless Love, it moves me to tears almost every time I hear it, because God’s heart for all of us, His children, is completely in it.
I am Homesick because I long for the day I see Jesus’ face and everything is made right. Oh how I yearn for that day! But for now I’m not just going to crave Heaven, I’m going to let Heaven manifest within me and overflow into others. I’m not going to let the earthly pains stop me from remaining hope-filled, and I will do my best to be faithful to the love of my Father and to pour out that love on people in each and every situation that I’m in, everyday.
May you do the same.
“For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love–yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (Passion Translation).