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This World is Not My Home

This World is Not My Home
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“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalms 139:7-10

“Home is where my Teddy bear lives,” said my little Canadian neighbor.  

“Home is where no one introduces you,” wrote a student.

“Home is where my stuff is,” observed a new teammate after being moved several times.

“Home is where I have the only keys to the door,” were my words until I lived where several had this possession. 

“Home is where my music’s playing,” sang Simon and Garfunkel.  

I’m sure many readers are saying amen and adding their own definitions. It can be a tough-to-describe place. Sometimes I have surprised myself at the locations where I’ve said, “it’s so good to be home!” Once I returned from a particularly traumatic 2 weeks of travel. Illness, misunderstandings, bad weather, accommodation issues and daily tension. Even as I put the key in my door I smiled. What was inside? A beautifully furnished apartment? A shared two-bedroom house? No, an 800 square foot dorm room with furnishings so small we foreign students dubbed them the elf closet and bed. But for that year it was mine. 

For that year. All my dwelling places have limitations to them. Teddy bears get lost and little boys forget them. I clearly understand the difference between walking into a room where you hear, “well, look who’s back!” or “who are you with?” But do I really want to live where I never meet new people? Stuff is infamously ephemeral. Precious today yet not making the two-suitcase cut at the end of the year. My keys comment speaks for itself. Yes, I called those places mine for a time and maybe so did someone else. True, home is where my favorite music is played. But my preferences will change. 

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 

CS Lewis describes this fleeting nature of our homes in The Problem of Pain. The transience of stuffed animals, key possession, and kindred spirits remind us we are not home yet. Until then our impermanence clings to His presence on all sides of the sea. Someday the joy at opening our little dorm rooms will be totally forgotten when we see what God has prepared for us.

Closing Prayer
Oh God, I am so blessed in all the places you have provided for me to call home. Thank you for the reminder that they are not permanent. Of course they’re not! Why would they last when only you are the same today and forever. Is there really one that I would want to live in forever? But I thank you for the uniqueness of each one and the little illustrations they are of your goodness; your creativity; your care. Some were tiny with a great view. Others were hot and steamy but surrounded by flowers. One was on stilts! So many had a sunny windowsill perfect for plants. Some were on bus lines convenient for visitors. Still, none hold a candle to your house! Help me to live with contentment here on earth knowing the best is yet to come. Amen.
Song: This World is Not my Home by The Statler Brothers It might be too ‘country’ for some tastes but someone shared it with me once and I find myself humming it often. It was quoted in several articles I read by overseas workers on this topic of home.
Question for Reflection

What stands out about one or two of your homes out of your passport country?

Barbara Kindschi
November 16, 2023

I think my first home in Asia will always hold a special place in my mind and heart. Learning and living with other newbies can’t be repeated. We learned to cook with coal, and hosted students who had never been in a foreigner’s home. We shared a little toaster oven and each chose our night to bake. When one building had no water we made baths for each other. Our neighbors showed us how to insulate our windows with paper and paste and buy the cheapest vegetables. The building manager installed phones in all the apartments except ours. We laughed a lot. Very little of the circumstances of that situation would be the same today. Except – there’s still laughter!