Thursday, March 08, 2012

Homesick


I have been married for almost 23 years. My family is in Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma...a full two-day drive from Michigan (where we used to live) and Ohio (where we now live). Prior to our marriage, I was in college in Missouri for four years. So, most people would think: "You never get homesick any more, right? You're used to it!" Not really.

I grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas, the youngest of four daughters. We are a close-knit family, and we LOVE spending time together. All three of my older sisters were married by the summer I was 12, so I spent several years as an "only child". I forged such a great bond with my parents during those years.

We lived in an equally close-knit community, filling our days with church, school, 4-H, and other community activities. Whenever I visit home, I see people I have known since I was a child. They are truly "life long" friends. It's always a joy catching up on each others' lives.

The distance and finances have prevented us from visiting Kansas more than once a year. And phone charges prohibited frequent phone calls. You cannot imagine how ecstatic I was to have e-mail in the late '90's! I now e-mail my sisters and nieces on a daily basis, just catching them up on our daily lives. It makes such a difference! It makes the wait (until our next visit) just a bit easier.

So now you can probably understand why I tend to feel homesick on occasion. My older sisters and nieces are some of my best friends. As I said, we love spending time together. We laugh, and talk, and laugh, and talk! We enjoy each others' company.

Two of the things I have always enjoyed most about going "home" were walking around the farm (my parents and one of my sisters and her family still live there) and walking around Greensburg. The farm hasn't changed much over the years. It is so quiet and peaceful.

As you may know, though, Greensburg was destroyed by a tornado in May of 2007. Returning there now is a strange experience. The people I know are there, if the tornado didn't cause them to relocate. However, all the familiar homes, stores, and churches are no longer there. The people are rebuilding, and it's wonderful to see. But it's just not the same. The places I hold in my memory were taken away by a storm, never to return. I truly miss something that no longer exists.

So let's take this to a spiritual level. How is it that Christians can say we are "homesick" for heaven? It is a place we know little about, other than what we can see in our "mind's eye" from Scripture or visions others have had of its magnificence. Many saints throughout history had a glimpse of heaven as they were dying for their faith. Yet for those of us left behind, we can only guess at what heaven holds. Why do we miss it, then? Some place we have never been or seen?

Because the One who lives inside us is there, and we yearn to be with Him. We know Him, even if we don't know much about heaven. We know the One who is there.

The great thing is that we can experience a small taste of heaven now! AMAZING! There are times when He comes to us when we sit quietly in prayer. We get a glimpse of its beauty in sunsets, mountains, oceans, a flower, a baby's smile... And, I have to say, one thing I really love about worshiping with liturgy is that it reflects heavenly worship (see the book of Revelation)...and God comes into our very midst...a taste of heaven.

Yes, I am so homesick for heaven. This earth is becoming so incredibly decadent. When we are with Jesus, it will be glorious. But I am so thankful that we can experience His Kingdom in the here and now in so many ways.

It makes the wait to go "home" easier, doesn't it?




"As It Is In Heaven" by Matt Maher
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