When we first moved to Arizona, we attended a church that was searching for a new pastor. One fine Arizona spring Sunday, a candidate from Alabama came in view of a call. After the Sunday morning service, they decided to drive around the area. It’s hard to get lost around here. I live on the eastern edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area. 95% of our streets are either straight north/south or east/west. And our eastern boundary is the Superstitions: sheer-sided, jagged, volcanic peaks and ridges separated by boulder-filled canyons. They are impossible to miss, rising almost straight up at the end of our valley. When in doubt, we always know to look for the mountains to see where we are.
But get lost they did. So they pulled into a convenience store and the pastor sends his wife in for directions. To picture this, you must remember that they are from the deep south –- and his wife’s Southern accent is thick and rich. Think Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle. She walks in and drawls, “Excuse me, but I’m lost.” The clerk, realizing she certainly isn’t a local, promptly replies, “Ma’am, you’re a long way from home!”
Sometimes I feel like I’m a long way from home –- my heavenly home: when the news tells of one more government decision that is so contrary to God’s way of living, when I hear of yet one more gunman who decided to solve his own issues by killing others, when a close friend dies unexpectedly –- far too early in his time on earth, or when my own life feels like it’s collapsing for one reason or another. But thankfully, God assures me that this world is not my permanent home (See Hebrews 13:14, NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3NLT)
Not only is this not my permanent home, but Jesus said that I have a better home awaiting, one that is so perfect and glorious that I can’t even imagine what it will be like to live there. There is plenty of room and, best of all, He’s coming to get me –- and all who have trusted Him as Lord and Saviour –- and we will always be with Him and His Father.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven….” (2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT, explanation of text mine)
What lovely imagery –- “when this earthly tent we live in is taken down”. We’ll pack up our tent and go hometo be with Him forever. There’s no need for us to fear death. Jesus said we can trust in Him, that He’s preparing a place for us. We can take comfort from His promises as we struggle through our trials here on earth.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You have prepared a glorious home for us, a place where You will gather Your chosen ones. Thank You that we can be assured that our earthly home is temporary and when our “tent is taken down” we will be with You forever. Amen
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA