January 19, 2013

Home is where the heart is

After I grew up, moved away from home and got married, we often returned home to visit my parents and family. Then my parents became tired of the dust from the neighbor’s fields, bought some homestead land farther north and moved themselves. We also visited there often, and it also became home. 

When the two of them moved into a senior’s residence, that place also seemed like home to me, perhaps less so than their own house. After illness separated them, the sense of home became fragmented. Mom stayed in that residence and later in a second one. Dad went to a hospital, never to go home again until he died and went to his heavenly home.  

These thoughts are prompted by today’s devotional, again referring to the same verse as yesterday:

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

The devotional’s author points out that Jesus is talking about the Father’s house, a paternal home, and how vital the Father is needed to make it a home. Because of Him, our hearts rest, both on earth and in heaven. He points out that those who have no God make themselves homeless, and even those who have human love and affection live in the mere shadow of a home for it is the Father of all humanity who “sets the solidarity in families.”

I don’t know about those things but I do know that fathers are vital in the raising of a family. Statistics bear out that many criminals come from broken or fatherless homes. The love, direction, example and even the presence of a loving dad makes a huge difference in the lives of sons and daughters.

I’m reminded of Joseph. When his brothers showed up in Egypt looking for food, one of his first questions to them was about their (and his) father. But I’m also reminded of how many people I know who cannot love God because their earthly father abused or mistreated them. The modern world, perhaps assisted by the feminist movement, vastly underestimates the value of a father and the vitality of his effect on the concept of home.

My concept of God first formed around my own father. While that concept had to be adjusted after I became a Christian, I had a good dad. Now that he is gone, don’t know how I would feel without the love of my heavenly Father to fill in that hole in my life, perhaps orphaned and still grieving?

Jesus points to the place He is preparing, a place with many rooms in His Father’s house. This is also my Father’s house, a house of many rooms, that heavenly home that calls me with even a deeper sense of home than the farm houses that my parents called home. 

Heaven is home because Jesus has made it so, but also because my Father is there. My dad is there too, but it is being in the presence of God that makes it heaven. It is God Himself who will remove all the sorrow of this life, wipe away all the tears, and heal all wounds. Best of all, going there will not be a mere visit. Once I’m in, that home becomes my eternal dwelling place.

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