Points to Ponder: The Home You Long For

Points to Ponder
The Home You Long For
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

The longing for home and what's familiar tugs at the heart when you're away. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we come home tired from our vacations. You need a vacation to recover from the vacation. Even when I'm on a long-anticipated trip, I find myself counting the days till I go home.
Our nine-year-old, Joanna, wanted to go on the Father-Daughter Retreat at Camp Joy El. Within two hours of our arrival, as we were sitting in the opening session, I saw tears in her eyes. She missed Mommy. Though this camp is a two-night experience, she can only handle one. Even on our all-time best family vacation trip to Indiana last year, she and her sister were not interested in stopping, exploring, or staying at another hotel with a pool. They just wanted to go home.
At the retreat, Joanna said goodnight to her mother later on my cell phone, then we headed for a snack. I admitted to her that I too miss being home. However, we can never have an adventure or discover new things unless we leave home once in awhile.
It's interesting how a longing for home, "Home, Sweet Home," is a natural, warm and comforting thing; especially when we return there and settle back into what we know.
When we used to go camping, it amazed me how people brought home along; the television, the gadgets and conveniences, even the routine of watching favorite shows. Sticking with what's familiar is practically an obsession.
When we'd go away and stay in a nice hotel with the pool and other amenities, the girls could stay glued to their favorite cartoons (which can be watched at home), unless we pry them away.
When we arrived at the Father-Daughter Retreat, Joanna looked for the familiar. She wanted to be in the same cabin as last year. She wanted to see someone she knew, not make new friends. Aren't we all like that? Give me what I know, what's comfortable and familiar.
That's what makes the call of Abraham (Genesis 12) so radical. God told this seventy-five-year-old man to leave home, family, security, and everything familiar.
"Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)
Just when you're getting into a comfortable routine and enjoying the senior's discount at McDonald's, God says to leave that and follow Him to a place you do not know.
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The writer to the Hebrew Christians refers back to this amazing walk of faith. He lists in one whole chapter, faithful men and women who left the familiar to follow God. They had nothing to lean on other than His promises and their faith in Him. Abraham and these others (Hebrews 11), turned from the natural longing for the home they had known. They in effect declared themselves homeless. They "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." That's an interesting and amazing mind set. Jesus referred to this as being in the world and not of it.
What new horizons are open before us when we can stop looking back at the ones we already know? Imagine how you could see life, how you could find the depth of your true calling from God, if you could see yourself as a citizen of heaven, just passing through for a brief time on earth.
"For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return." (Hebrews 11:14-15)
They could have called to mind the familiar places from which they came. But they chose to seek a homeland. As it is said of Abraham's mind set:
"...for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (v. 10)
I like our home. Even when I'm exploring beautiful places in other states, I still look forward to getting home. But I also know, this is just a brief stopping place on the journey to something far grander and eternal.
"But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (v. 16).

Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.