“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:4 NIV
My first experience of home sickness was when I went to stay for a couple of nights with a school friend. I was about six years old. I thought it would be fun, but the whole time I just wanted to go home. I wanted familiar things and people around me, so I cried and cried. On the second day my friend’s parents drove us to the seaside, to Weston Supermare, a famous British beach where the tide goes out for miles. I wept the whole way there, desperate for home and my own parents, looking back out of the rear windscreen towards where I thought they were. The strength of my feelings shocked and upset me, and my hosts were none too pleased either. I remember my friend’s mother got particularly narked, since she was determined we were to have fun no matter what. This soppy six-year-old crying her eyes out was scuppering her perfect plans.
When things are extra tough as they are at the moment, I long for home. I really want to not have to face the daily grind of lack and ill health, and to be able to come home to my heavenly father’s dwelling place. I long for that sense of peace and the idea of being fully known. I have had a taste here on earth by the grace of God, of what that relationship might begin to taste like, and I yearn for more.
But there is work to be done. And this is true for all of us, whether we are consciously in the Lord’s service or not. I don’t know how my writing or art might ever be used of the Lord, but I hope it will be, and because I am his servant I must carry on. But I do not continue without groaning, or feeling burdened. I daily feel heavy with the heartache of it all.
One of my dearest friends calls me her snail, and hopefully not just because I am slow. These days I find that home is being with God and so in a way, I can carry my home around with me wherever I go. This is a great comfort. I love being creative and I love prayer which is the mainstay of my life, and these things sustain me in my tiny life, but there are many times when I feel like a castaway who often looks out to sea with a profound yearning to journey home, or like that little me who looked back through the car window all the way to the beach.
Paul speaks this longing out in his beautiful way, saying that we feel naked without our true bodies. An amazing metaphor for the hunger to be really ourselves, knowing deep down that we are immortal beings whose souls need to fly home to their legitimate nesting place in the heart of God, as one day we shall.
Photo from Morguefile