You know, there’s just something really delicious about getting home! No other sentiment quite matches the feeling of finally arriving where you really “belong.” While there are a lot of incredibly nice places to visit all over the world, nothing evokes that deep, satisfied sigh like propping your feet up in front of the fireplace, “at home.”
While home is wonderful, just getting there can sometimes be pretty difficult. I’ve been at enough family reunions to know that, in the years that have separated them, those happy souls around the table have done battle with the exigencies of life. The reunion is just a brief respite along the road of a marathon filled with detours, distractions and, yes, stumbles. But there we are, at home and together…where we belong.
Early this morning, my dad showed up at home. As is the case for many who die at the end of a long life, though surrounded by a loving family members, Dad was in neither his earthly “house” nor his bodily “tent.” The muffled hallway sounds, strange bed, dim lights and staff visits, only amplified the reality that he was not “home.” But now he is!
Paul reminds us that “if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we (believers) have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1). When my dad’s roommate, a WWII Navy veteran, asked what had happened, I leaned over his bed and said “He’s gone home!” “Say a prayer!” he exclaimed, wanting me to pray for dad. “I’ll thank the Lord that my dad is home,” I replied, “but I’ll pray for you as well.” Like many, that fine veteran is not so certain where home is for him.
Just before my father’s bodily tent was unstaked from the bed and transported out of the room, we sang his favorite hymn, My Jesus I Love Thee.* Though struggling to hold back the tears, we made it through that last verse. In mansions of glory, and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright. I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, tis NOW!
Bye Dad! So happy that at last you are home!
2 Tim 1:12
*Words, William R Featherston, 1862, Tune, Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876 (Convention Press)