Yesterday I conducted a memorial service for a dear friend who died following a massive stroke about two weeks ago. She was a Godly woman. In the months leading up to her death, she said to her husband that she was homesick for heaven. She stated and restated it in several ways. In preparation for my message, I searched the Scriptures to see if anyone else was homesick for heaven. I'll share three of the several I discovered.
JOB, amid all of his losses, troubles, and pain said . . . I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth . . .and I will see God. I myself will see Him with my own eyes - I and not another. How my heart yearns within me (Job 19:25-27). Read those verses again. Note that Job says I know. It was his certainty that he would see God even as he states his longing for that to happen . . . How my heart yearns within me. Was he homesick for heaven? Indeed! He was yearning . . . eagerly awaiting to see the Lord on that final event on God's eschatological calendar.
PAUL, writing from a prison cell, wrote the following . . . I eagerly expect that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. What shall I choose? I do not know. I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is better by far . . . but . . . (Philippians 1:20-24). Paul is "thinking out loud." He is "writing out loud." He is allowing us to listen in as he struggles within his own heart and mind as to the advantages of living on earth or dying to be with Christ. He states his preference clearly. It was to die and to be with Christ, which is better by far. In the following verses (1:22-24) he finishes his thought by stating that the advantage of living on earth is to serve the Lord by ministering to God's people. Yet his prevailing desire is to depart because he, too, was homesick for heaven.
ABRAHAM is mentioned in Hebrews 11, God's Hall of Faith. One-third of the chapter is about Abraham. Take the time to read verses 8-10 and 13-16. Especially notice these phrases . . . Abraham, by faith, made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents. He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. He died, admitting he was an alien and a stranger on earth. He was longing for a better country, a heavenly one . . . knowing that God was preparing a city for him. Abraham knew that any earthly home was temporary. He knew he would always be wrestling with homelessness on earth because he wasn't home yet. He, too, was homesick for heaven.
These three - Job, Paul, and Abraham, were HOMESICK FOR HEAVEN. So was Nancy Musser. Is there any wider relevance for you and me?
Paul, in II Corinthians 5:20 reminds all Christians that we are Christ's ambassadors. As ambassadors we do not spend our lives in our home country (Heaven) but we are on assignment here on earth. So let's not get to comfortable and enamored with "stuff" here. Let's be about our Father's business. And, yes, let's cultivate a healthy homesickness for Heaven.
It was Amy Carmichael who said, "Ultimately the only thing that matters is that which is eternal." An anonymous author added, "None of us is prepared for life on earth until we are prepared for heaven."
Stuart Hamblen, in his song, UNTIL THEN, gets the point of what I am writing about in this letter.
The things of earth will dim and lose their value when we recall they're borrowed for a while,
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble, remembered there will only bring a smile.
But until then my heart will go on singing; Until then, with joy I'll carry on.
Until the day my eyes behold the city. Until the day God calls me home.
Founder, Senior Associate