On Homesickness and Living Hope…

I have never in my life been this displaced.
I have moved out of my house completely and it is sold.
I am living temporarily in a beautiful basement apartment provided by friends.
And eventually I will move back to my apartment on campus at the school where I teach in Guatemala.

But I don’t know when.
I have tentative plans of returning in a few weeks.
I am hopeful that the airport will be open.
But I don’t know for sure.

So I am living between worlds.
Trying to enjoy all that the U.S. offers that Guatemala does not – like people I love here, foods I can’t get there, and the differences in the scenery.
All the while looking forward to what awaits me there – people I love there, the ministry God has called me to, different foods, scenery and weather.

But really, I am living between three worlds, not just two.
Because the U.S. is not perfect.
And neither is Guatemala.
Both are wracked with pain from the results of sin.
Some of the pains are very similar because, after all, people are people.
Others are strikingly different.
But both places, both cultures, both sets of issues make me cry out, “How long, oh Lord, how long?”
And “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

My heart longs for my real home, where I can see Jesus face to face.
When I can touch the scars in his hands and kiss them in eternal gratitude.
When I can see the Father’s glory and fall on my face before Him.
When I can fellowship with the Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, in person.
When I can sit down and talk with David about Goliath, with Joseph about his life in Egypt, with Peter about what it feels like to walk on water and with Mary about what Jesus was like as a kid.
When, as one of my favorite authors would say, all my question marks will be yanked into exclamation points.

I long for that home.
More than I miss Guatemala when I am in the U.S.
And more than I miss the U.S. when I am in Guatemala.

I long for the day when I get to worship with people from every tribe, tongue and nation.
When I get to see loved ones who have gone before.
Where my body will no longer wrestle with sickness and disease.
And my soul will no longer wrestle with sin.

Keeping my eye on that home, my heavenly destination, is how I deal with all the ick of this one.
It is easy to fall into despair in these times.
So easy.
And yet, Christ-followers have hope!
Eternal hope
Living hope
Life-altering hope.

This life is NOT all there is.
Yes, we have work to do here until God calls us home.
Yes, we will deal with pain and suffering here for as many years as He has determined for each of us.
Yes, we have to live with the effects of sin. And they are ugly. Deadly. Horrific.

But C.S. Lewis said that this life is the title page of the book.
The title page!
It is just the introduction to real life, eternal life, sinless life.
And sooner than we might think, the hand of God will turn the page.
And the real story will begin.
The story of eternal joy
Eternal celebration
Eternal fulfillment
Eternal peace.

To my fellow Christ-followers – can I stand on my soapbox just for you for a moment?
Yes, for you personally.
Pretend we’re having coffee.
And listen to me, please, I beg you:

We have the message of HOPE!
We have the message of eternal life!
Because every single person you meet – ALL OF THEM – are headed to one of two places: heaven or hell.
And YOU have the life-giving answer – the knowledge of the way that they can be guaranteed access to heaven!
So instead of using your energy to fight about politics or masks or elections or race or anything else, what if you used all your creative energy to share the hope of Jesus?
To woo and win souls for Christ?
To simply be a witness of what He has done in YOUR life?
To love people until they ask you why.
To shine. To be kind. To forgive. To live the power of the cross, which is forgiveness, and the power of the empty tomb, which is hope.

I am homesick, yes.
Longing for a home I have never seen.
But my dearest friend is there, not only waiting for me, but preparing it for me.
And it is going to be glorious!

But I am also heartsick.
The enemy is winning souls for hell left, right, and center.
He is shutting down Christ-followers by distracting them with a thousand other things.
And he is feeding the hopelessness and despair in the people who don’t know Jesus, convincing them that life is not worth living and that there is no answer.
According to a report on the radio this week, calls to suicide hotlines have increased 800% in the past few months.
People are silently screaming at the top of their lungs for hope.
They are starving for the Bread of Heaven and dying of thirst for a drink of Living Water.
We, those who follow Jesus, have the answer!
We have living hope to share!

That hope is not a feeling.
It’s not even man-made solutions to issues.
It is a relationship with the Living Lord.
The One who gives us what we need to face each day.
The Author if all wisdom, who gives it freely when we ask.
The Shepherd who guides us step by step as we walk with Him.
The One who gives us the power to keep looking ahead.
The One who is passionately for us, who longs for us to long for Him.

Are you, Christ-follower, homesick for heaven?
Let that drive you.
Let it be the passion that causes you to take as many people with you as you possibly can.
God left the job of telling them with you.
He’ll give you all you need to get the job done.
You just have to be willing to open your mouth and spread hope.
Will you? Please?

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