“For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” – Hebrews 11:14-16
A lot of us get annoyed by “take me back” posts, yet most of us end up posting them. We want to show people where we’ve been for sure but most times we genuinely miss the places or people from that place. I know this is how I am to a T. I miss Mongolia and the wrestlers I was with there. I miss NIU and my former teammates and bros I discipled there. I miss my high school and the teachers I had. I miss my coaches and football games. I miss wrestling at State and the fans that came to cheer me on. I miss my best friends. I miss childhood trips up to Cops Custard in Wisconsin. I miss my family and my dogs. Take me back!!!
But I know that when I go back to Illinois I will be constantly posting about Puerto Rico and how much I miss my prison cell room, the alone time I “enjoyed”, the beauty of the island and of course the amazing people. I’m warning all of you now, it’s going to be ridiculous. Lately I’ve been realizing that I am homesick where ever I go.
As Andy Bernard, from the Office, famously said in the show’s finale: “I wish there was a way to know when you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” Does that not ring true with anyone else? Humans are homesick. We romanticize the past or certain places and when we revisit them we realize they weren’t as good as we thought.
We want to belong, we want to care for people and have people care for us. We all want a utopia. We want to be home but it seems like there is no home that will do. We talk up our families and take fun action shots at holidays but we forget about the awkwardness and the low points, the bitterness, and arguing that every family has. We think about past relationships with fondness but forget the actually reason you broke up. I think if we are honest with ourselves we are all very schizophrenic about our memories and especially our Ideal “home”.
If you imagine your favorite place in the whole world, maybe a place you’ve been or somewhere you’d love to go, that place will let you down. Think of a tropical beach somewhere beautiful… There will be no-see-ums and mosquitos biting you. There will be other tourists there messing with your vibes and if there isn’t then most likely you had to take a death defying car ride to get there. Maybe cold is your jam, Salt Lake City for some awesome skiing or snow boarding? Ok so there’s no mosquitos but remember how cold your feet get? We never remember the awful wedgies or the socks fitting weird in our boots. There is always something that doesn’t quite fit right but you worked too hard getting ready to fix it. A thousands things could go wrong, especially with the human factor involved. There is no perfect place, every place in this world will let you down in some way or another. I’m not saying we should all be pessimists and whiners, I’m saying our homesickness and quest for a utopia is evidence of something bigger.
As C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Think about that. Maybe the fact that we are home sick everywhere we go is evidence that we are meant for a different home. I think the City Harmonic, one of my favorite bands, says it well: “If home is where the heart is, man it’s in the hand of God”. Understanding this doesn’t destroy my desire to see the world, it actually gives me encouragement. I know that no matter where I go I will always experience a little bit of discontent and that’s how it should be. Why? Because this world is broken and it’s people are broken.
Romans 8 says “we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” We are longing for a different world. While this world is still beautiful and can give momentary bliss and astonishment, reality snaps us back with a whiplashing force.
Instead of hiding from this discontentment like I used to, now I embrace it. I can enjoy this world for what it is; a temporary home. I am here for a season, but this world is not all I will ever know. Jesus Christ is preparing a place for me and his return will be the consummation of all things. What makes me so special? Nothing. He chose me. it’s not that I was really searching for him, or spent enough time in mass or in the soup kitchens. It’s not because I’m a good friend, which I’m not, or because I’m humble, which I’m not. It’s not because God saw something in me that He just had to have. It’s not because of anything in me. It’s actually in spite of everything in me. I am a wretched sinner. But He stooped down to save this sinner. He gave me the grace to put my faith in Jesus because He wanted to.
I still struggle with wanting to be everywhere at once, I still fantasize about past relationships and think about texting old girlfriends. I still post “take me back” pictures. But I’m growing in my contentment because I know this world is not a fixer upper, it’s a complete tear down. Christ Jesus is coming back to right every wrong, he will make all things new. I don’t have to have a warm toasty cabin in the woods with a 16lb bass mount on the wall and a bear skin rug on the floor to feel peace, I just need to focus on Christ and remind myself that my home is coming. All those who are forgiven by Jesus will spend eternity with him in the new heavens and the new earth. If you don’t know Jesus, if he’s not your savior, if you haven’t put your faith in him for the forgiveness of your sins I beg you to give it some serious thought today.
I’m banking on the fact that you know the kind of discontentment I’m talking about, take some time to ponder on why we all experience that. Sure you can write me off as a religious nut job, but that longing for a real home will be with you as long as you try to fulfill it with this broken world and these temporary places. If home is where the heart is man it’s in the hand of God.