When our children were very young, perhaps three and four years old, we visited my parents in Florida. My parents lived close by a body of water, and so I took the opportunity to go fishing with my daughter and son. We casted our line out, reeled it back in, and had a great time. I really don’t recall whether or not we actually caught any fish.
What I do recall is what happened during one of the times that we cast our line out into the dark waters. As I reeled it back in an alligator was attracted by the lure’s motion on the water’s surface. This large predator quickly followed the lure back toward us. At that point my son’s eyes grew large with fear. I think he was pretty sure the alligator would be on top of us at any moment. He turned to me and said, “I wanna go home now.”
We can learn a lot from very young children. They often don’t have the filters we develop as we grow older, and pretty much say what’s on their mind without concern for what others may think. I suspect that there’s a number of times when even as adults something happens that causes us, deep in our hearts, to want the comfort of home.
I often think about this in spiritual terms. Between the Pandemic, the recent Presidential election, and a number of other difficult situations that have happened recently, I find myself longing to leave this earth and be welcomed home into heaven based on my faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
I doubt I’m alone in this longing for our true home. In fact, the Apostle Paul expressed a similar sentiment. He was writing to believers from prison after being locked up for his faith in Christ. He explained that during his imprisonment he had the opportunity to share the gospel with his guards. He also noted that some individuals on the outside were working hard to make his imprisonment more difficult. As recorded in Philippians 1:19-26 (ESV), Paul casts aside concern for this and says:
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
I’m certainly not facing anything like Paul faced in prison. And yet, it has been a challenging time recently. Things are heating up overseas for those I advise on security issues. This includes two recent abductions which, thankfully, resulted in the individuals being released by their captors unharmed after having to endure incredible hardship. And like you, my wife and I often face trials and challenges normal to everyday life and to family matters.
One evening recently I awoke in the dead of night from a deep sleep. For some reason the longing to be home with the Lord was especially intense at that moment. I used the opportunity to pray and to think. After some time, a few thoughts came to mind. Right then, in the dark and quiet, I reached for my iPhone and wrote the following words in a Notes file:
Longing for Home – I want to go home now, yet there remains a path to walk, a pilgrimage to complete in order to fulfill the purpose for which I was placed here. I will do so faithfully, and then with a joyful heart I shall see Him face to face and run to embrace my God and King.
There’s nothing especially insightful about these words, yet they reflect what was in my heart at that silent moment after prayer and while listening for the Lord’s inner guidance. I sensed the Lord’s encouragement to stay the course, to finish the race, and to be faithful all the way. Only then, on one fine day known only to God, will he allow me to move on to be with him face-to-face.
This encouraged me deep within my heart, and I share it for what it may be worth to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What about you? Are there times when you long to be in heaven more than usual? If so, how does the Lord encourage you during such times? Feel free to share any thoughts you may have in the Comments section below. In the meantime, know that you’re not alone in the longing to be home. Let’s encourage one another as we walk the path of life through this world that seems to grow darker every day. Let’s remember that we’re called to be light here, and that we can know peace and joy on the journey that those who’ve yet to trust Christ cannot comprehend.