20 days ago, I had the opportunity to fly back from where we live overseas to my home in Texas for a couple weeks. Wow. The roads, the wide open spaces, the seemingly endless sky, the houses and businesses I've grown up with all my life, and the people... family, friends, church members, longtime familiar acquaintances, etc.
Most of my life has been spent in Texas. And yet, in many ways, it no longer feels like home. In some ways, it will always have that familiar pull on my heart. There is nothing else like a Texas sunset. Nothing like the Dallas skyline that rises up from the flat land around it. Nothing else like good Tex-Mex in your belly and family at your side. But it's no longer completely "home" for me.
One of the spiritual benefits of living overseas (for me) is having that ever-constant awareness that I'm not "home".
In the places we've lived so far, it is rare to feel completely normal in day-to-day life. Perhaps you're eating food you'd never eat, or using substitutions for everyday ingredients. Certainly you're speaking a different language when you leave your home. People stare. Food doesn't always sit right. Apartments don't have closets. Shoes aren't worn inside. Backyards are scarce (or even nowhere to be found). Furniture looks different. Customs take some getting used to.
But, I'm coming to realize that all of these things are blessings... I can't get too "settled" in this life. The lack of a full feeling of "home" here reminds me that my true Home is with Christ on the New Earth.
WHAT IS GOD'S INTENT?
We were not created for an endless "this". The sin, despair, hurt, shame, perversion... all of it was brought on by our own sin-- not as part of the original design. The creation intent for us was fellowship with and worship of God, fellowship with one another, and enjoyment of Him and His creation.
Reading Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, several years ago really opened my eyes to what the Scriptures have to say about Heaven. After the judgment, God is going to redeem our earth, making it "home". Gossip, back pain, frustration, weeds, tears, sickness, misunderstandings, and difficult relationships will all be gone. And we will be Home. To our true Home. The home that our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls were fashioned for.
After my visit back to Texas, I'm echoing what my friend Tanya says, I'm "homesick for Heaven".