There's No Place Like Home
By Lori D'Augostine
-- The Bible says that we are strangers or pilgrims only passing through this world. Some can identify with this more than others. For someone such as myself, who has moved every year for the past 10 years, being a pilgrim, or as I like to call myself, a "vagabond," often evokes feelings of homelessness.
It's the reality for many twenty-somethings transitioning between various college, roommate, and job experiences. It's the reality for many missionaries, military positions, and other transient careers.
For some, home might be a car or an office. I personally ascribe to the old adage that home is simply where the heart is. Have you ever burned so deeply for a place that any mention of it, would send you into a frenzy, almost like a star-crossed lover?
I actually had a roommate, who was literally so lovestruck for England, that she had mementos of anything and everything British plastered on every nook and cranny of her room, office, and car. She hasn't been there for years, and often longs to return, yet finds very creative ways to carry England with her wherever she goes.
The other day, I was wearing my "Dorothy" shoes, as I like to call them. I often playfully tap them together, and close my eyes, still childishly hoping that somehow I too could return back to "my home."
"There's No Place Like Home. There's No Place Like Home," I was chanting with a friend of mine. Then, it hit me. Not reality, just the implications of my wish. "Wait a second, where is my home? Where is it that I would like to go?"
I thought about the home that I spent my early childhood years in on Linda Lane. Although there were many fond memories, yet still, not a place that I'd like to return. Perhaps it's because I didn't like the leaky ceiling in my bedroom.
Then, I thought about the beautiful home that I spent my teenage years in on Adler Lane, and the room that I got to design, with my own bay windows and balcony. But, still that would mean I'd have to move back in with my parents. And although I love them dearly, I know that is not the most conducive to my present state of affairs.
Finally, it hit me, and I blurted it out as if I were holding my breath for too long. "Israel," I gasped! "I left my heart in Israel!"
My mind was immediately transfixed to a scene I experienced just short of six months ago. I was staying in a hotel in Tiberias, which is the largest city surrounding the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel. I pictured myself lounging on a lawn chair under a palm tree, as the penetrating breeze from the sea where Jesus walked on water whisked through my sun-brazen hair. [It was actually at this same hotel that just recently a barrage of long range Katyusha rockets were fired, causing many tourists to flee.]
I'm not sure that my friend expected my response. "Israel? Even in light of all that is occuring there, you'd still want to go back to Israel?" she uttered.
"Yes, I don't think that I've ever felt more at home anywhere on this earth," was my instant reply .
It was a 10-day tour with some close friends, fellow students, professors, and many of whom I now call friends. Yet it seemed to have lasted an eternity. I was in eternity. To smell the crisp air, taste the finest of foods, feel genuine pangs in my heart for the lame and beggars we'd pass, listen to the children of Shiloh chanting their Hebrew songs, (the same children who each day are directly impacted by terrorist attacks), I've never felt more alive.
With every one of my senses attuned, I couldn't help but to fall in love with the land and the people. And, I couldn't help but to think of the love the Father has for this land and people.
God has chosen a magnificent homestead for His people. I really think that almost every natural resource on this planet belongs to Israel. I always pictured it to be a vast desert land, but some of the brightest colors I've ever seen exist there. I cannot imagine how any soul could venture to Israel, and remain untouched.
Yes, there were traces of the Garden of Eden under every rock, but it wasn't the landscape that touched me the most. I can still almost hear the wailing cries of the Jewish people at the Western Gate. At the Wailing Wall, and in various other places, many Jews pray throughout the day and night that their Messiah will come. I too, couldn't help but to beg for His return.
It was at this place, that I heard the heart of my Father, and could sense His longing to bring the completion of redemption to His land and people. I realized then, and still remind myself time and time again, (in light of what I see on the news) that God is not silenced to their cries. He is in the process of rebuilding His people to make them fit for His eternal reign.
In my travels throughout the land, I was often reminded of my life verse in Jeremiah 31:3, 4:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love. I will draw you with loving kindness. Again, you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again, you will take up your tambourines and dance with the joyful." (NIV)
Even though this land and this people are currently being shaken, these are only birth pangs. These people and this land will be delivered. Your redemption is drawing near Israel!
"I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make His home among his people." (Revelation 21:3)
To be home ... (sigh) to finally be home. That is what we all long for, and that is what all those who know Christ can have instantly, with the click of their heels, so to speak. No, I don't mean that you will be instantly transported to Israel or England, or your idea of Heaven on Earth, although we all may wish. But, I do know that your Spirit will find its eternal resting place.
Whether you are a Gentile or Jew, you are promised eternal life in the Kingdom of God, if you place your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Ephesians 3:6 says,
"Because of Christ Jesus, the good news has given the Gentiles a share in the promises that God gave to the Jews."
As Christ promised in Mark 10:15:
"I promise you that you cannot get into God's kingdom, unless you accept it the way a child does."
With faith like a child, we too can know that someday our spirits will find their eternal home. There will be no place like home! Home, that is where my heart is. Home, that is where I will someday be. My home is not of or in this world. Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus! Click, click.
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