Monday, August 13, 2012

When Longing For Home

I sat in the back row where I always sit.

And when she came in, standing tall and courageous in her long blue dress, I just knew we were about to get a taste of heaven.

No one expected her to show up at church after the week she had had.

But she had assured our shepherd that there was no where else she'd rather be than surrounded by her church family.

And I'm so glad she came.

I'm so glad they all came.

The ones who had lost their baby came.
The one who lost her dad was there.
The ones who had had to say good-bye to dear, dear friends had mustered up the strength to come.
And the Mom and Dad whose son has not been seen for two weeks, they came too and sat up there near the front like they usually do.

It was hard to say the least.

Sitting there in that room with the air so thick with pain you could taste it on the tongue.

Before the first word was spoken from the front their were tears falling everywhere.

Oh it stung. It stung deep.

But there was also something so peaceful, so tender, so real, going on in that room.

On a Sunday in early August, we were a bunch of broken folks gathered together without much to say... there wasn't much that could be said really.

And so we went to the one place that always offers light on these dark days... we, as a faith community, committed to walking through the muck and yuck of this world together... we went to His Word.

And one by one, we stood. And we read the words on the pages;  the words that bring hope when our hearts feel on the brink of hopelessness.

I don't remember all of the references, but I'll never forget the complete, unexplainable, yet perfect peace that filled that room.

And when one woman stood, (the one who had given back her baby to the Lord just the week before) and closed her eyes, and re-sighted from the depths of her soul Psalm 23,

I just wanted to go home.

Not to the Farm, but to my forever home with Him .

{Read it slow, line by line, and soak up each and every word?}

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

And when I thought my heart couldn't bear it anymore, another man stood and reminded this heart of mine that there is always hope and purpose in the here and now, no matter how painful the here and now might be.

He said it slowly & boldly & kindly,

"To live... IS__CHRIST.
To die... IS__GAIN."

Today, more than ever before, those eight words remind me of my purpose on this earth.

It's not to be comfortable, it's to be committed.
It's to surrender, and boldly press on.
It's to trust and not insist upon my own understanding.
It's to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

And it's the strangest thing, but on that Sunday morning in early August in the absolute pit of my pain, I saw in the sanctuary a glimpse of eternal joy. A people standing united in praise before their Savior who loves us more than we can ever really know.

He is God.
He is hope.
He is joy...

Even on the worst days.

It's okay to long for home because we were made for a better place than here. We were made for perfection in Eden. It's no wonder our hearts break over what was never meant to be?

But today I will look up.

And home, is only but a stone's throw away.

We need only to press on.

Higher up, and further in.

Thank goodness for Jesus.