Walking down the Jetway after a long week on the road, I step over the threshold into the cabin of the 737-300 with lightness returning to my step and anticipation waking up in the most basic parts of my heart — I am going home.
Coming home resonates so deeply for me. Warm hugs, good food, friendship, love, belonging, family, compassion, acceptance, support, opportunity, belief, and a future. As my heart beats just a little faster and my mind turns to the rich fabric of history, relationship, and joy that awaits me in just a few short hours I am struck by the favor and the blessings I enjoy.
God is good.
The captain’s voice breaks over the hum of the jet engines and the somewhat muffled conversations of the passengers that surround me as I look down the darkened cabin to the two or three seats with their reading lights lit, “We are about 225 miles out. It looks to be smooth sailing from here on in so we are going to turn off the seat belt signs for now, but we ask you to stay in your seats with your seat belts fastened. We’ll be back in a bit to update you on the descent”
The descent. Those words emerge like a rush of water over the parched lips of a runner completing a race. The end is within sight, the finish line is beckoning. I can see my wife’s smile and hear my children playing happily together as I close my eyes and put my seat back just a bit further. And somehow the challenges, the obstacles, the stress, the worry, the doubts, and the conflicts that wrap up so much attention on the ground seem minor in comparison with the goodness, the confidence, the love, and the peace that bring us all together.
I am blessed.
I look out the window at the twinkle of street lights and porch lights and cars moving through the night below and I wonder, what if every person in the world could come home? What if…?
“We’ve got overcast skies, the temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit and winds are out of the northwest at 5 miles an hour. We’re starting our descent, so we are going to be turning back on that seat belt sign. We thank you for flying with us and hope you will consider us on your next trip. Welcome to Baltimore!”
My momentary reverie is interrupted as I stow my tray table and put my seat back in its upright position for landing. I can hear the grind of the flaps deploying and the squeak of the landing gear actuators extending the wheels in preparation for the final approach. I’m almost there.
Home is such a powerful experience. Home is more than four walls and a roof. Home is a foundation and a context, a relationship and a center, a reference point and a lighthouse in the storm. If you invest in creating a home, the returns are far beyond the tangible benefits of stability and economic well-being, the results are deeply felt and innumerable, precious and powerful, unique and fulfilling.
When I think about the challenges that face me, the flaws that compromise me, the enemy that opposes me, and the God who loves me, I know that home is more than just wherever my heart is. Home is where my God lives and where He welcomes me with open arms, a broad smile, a hearty laugh, an encouraging word, and a healing touch. Home is where my wife and I build our family with intention and with purpose, with faith in the presence of our Creator and with a dedicated purpose to create a safe space, a welcoming community, a support structure, a healthy lifestyle, a persistent realization of God’s grace, and a constant acceptance of God’s goodness, God’s life, God’s salvation, and God’s vision for each of us.
The ground comes up to meet our wheels and the engines whine as the reverse thrust sets us forward in our seats and we slowly turn onto the taxiway and head for the terminal.
So many people are without a home tonight. So many people are lost and alone. So many people are persecuted and abandoned, abused and neglected — struggling and desiring to find home.
If you were blessed like me to grow up in a home, then you have a memory of home, a reference point to consider as you make the choice of how you are going to build a home of your own. But, if you have no memory of home or if you struggle with the dysfunction, the abuse, and the lost opportunity that was the home of your childhood, then know that home is one of the most central and essential promises that Jesus came to establish once and for all.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11
Jesus is ready to step into your burdens, take over your baggage, relieve your memories, create a new future, and empower this moment with a new sense of home. Jesus is ready to give you the leverage, the strength, and the tools to create a home of your own.
Too many people today are waiting for home to happen to them. They are unsettled, anxious, and concerned about so many things that they pass by the simple availability and power of an actual home.
So many of us find it second nature to invest in our work, our businesses, and our livelihood, but take our homes for granted — letting them linger and decay as we focus on achieving “success” only to discover that our hearts yearn for more even when we accomplish our biggest dreams and grandest visions.
It is the simple presence of God — the silent experience of joy, the confident awareness of acceptance, and the peace of a deeply felt connection, intimate understanding, and robust appreciation of love that come together to fulfill the need for home.
So, wherever you find yourself today — near or far from home — know this, God loves you specifically and persistently and has a home planned for you that is ready and waiting as soon as you are ready to accept and pursue it. It’s like Jesus said,
“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
Stepping through the portal, roller bag in tow, walking up the Jetway and down the winding length of the terminal, past shops, cafes, and fellow travelers, I know my journey is complete — I know that I have found home. I look with compassion as I walk by the many faces of those who won’t be home tonight, whose road is still continuing in front of them, and I pray that each one, on their own journey, in their own way, at their own time will find the hope, the purpose, and the future that God has in store for them — that each of them will truly have the opportunity to come home.