Friday, April 20, 2007

This World Is Not My Home

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

- from the song "Homesick" by Mercy Me.

"And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home."

from the song "If I Stand", by Rich Mullins.

Have you ever been homesick? I don't mean the homesickness of wanting to go back to the house you grew up in, or traveling and wishing you were back in your own bed at home. I mean the homesickness of grieving this world and just longing for heaven - our final, true home.

When Bart Millard of the band Mercy Me was asked about the meaning behind the lyrics of "Homesick" (the song I quoted above) he said he wrote it after his brother-in-law was killed in a car accident. He said, "It talks about getting the raw end of the deal when your loved one passes on and you stay here with the pain of not having them. Of course, having that person as an investment in heaven really makes you homesick all the more. We're just passing through this place, and heaven is our ultimate home."

There are times when I just feel like I can't take this world anymore and just long for heaven, when my life is barraged with loss and everything that is broken and wrong with this sinful, fallen world. Sometimes I just don't understand why we have to stay here and endure it all. Do you ever feel that way? What do you do or what have you found that helps to bring you out of this funky feeling? Is this what Matthew 5 is talking about ("Blessed are those who mourn...")? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

P.S. Just as I was finishing this post, I read a friend's blog, and discovered he's posting/talking about a very closely related topic. I encourage you to check it out, and participate in that discussion as well.

I thought some of you might be interested in the picture I used above. It is a close-up shot of the Angel of Grief, a 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story that he created in memory of his wife Emelyn, and
serves as the grave stone for both the artist and his wife at the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy. I think it is a beautiful and unusual piece of sculpture. You can see more pictures of it here.


The Trousered Ape said...

That is a pretty cool sculpture.

I definitely know what you mean about longing for home. Every time I read Revelation 21 I get excited for it. :)


Elizabeth C. said...

Thanks for the very thoughtful and well done post! "Homesick" is one of my favorite songs by Mercy Me! I have definitely been "homesick for heaven". Sometimes all the tragedy and disfunction of this world feels like too much to take.

Praise God that we have our home with Him to look forward to where there will be no more tears!

The sculpture is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us and letting us know where we can find out more about it.

D.L. White said...

Thanks Elizabeth. When we saw Mercy Me in concert, and he told the story behind the song before he sang it, I bawled like a baby.

Now I'm gonna go read Revelation 21 to see what Shawn's talking about... ;)

Isn't it interesting, how our knowledge of heaven sometimes makes us homesick, while other times it expresses itself as hope or excitement for things to come...the thing that keeps us going.

I suppose I need to focus more on that, than on the brokenness of this world. That's what gets me down.

Jesica said...

Yes, I'm homesick often.

When I think of all that we have to look forward to, all I can say is, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus".

Yet, when I look at Scripture, I know that God has a plan, and a purpose for leaving us here.

For the believing Gentile, it is in large part to minister to the unbelieving Jew. Whether that be through words or our lives, both are a ministry.

So, I cling to the truth of that, knowing that my life here is by God's sovereign purpose, and that there are those He desires to use my life to minister to.

It's only been in the past few years that I've learned what my role as a believing Gentile is to the Jewish people. Upon learning of it from Scripture, I find that my heart has been so tendered toward loving the Jewish people that God has placed in my life.

I had the priviledge of going to a Messianic service a few weeks ago, and hearing a whole bunch of different Jewish believers stand up and talk about how and why they chose to accpet Yeshua as the Promised Messiah of Israel.

It was so eye-opening! Almost every single one of them said that they learned about Yeshua (Jesus) from a Gentile!


So, yes..I long for Home too. But, as Paul said, "for me to live is Christ, to die is gain".

As long as we're here, we have a job to do for the Lord.

We can rest in His presence when the work is done. :)

Good question!

D.L. White said...

Thanks Jesica! Another good take on this subject! It all has to do with what we're focusing on, doesn't it? Are we focusing on God's plan and purpose for us? Or are we focusing on all the brokenness and things that discourage us? I must admit that often distracts me and gets me down. Gotta keep my eyes on the prize! :P

Elizabeth C. said...

Just have to ask...Is that picture you're using as your icon one of your drawings? It is absolutely beautiful!

D.L. White said...

Oh, I wish it was a drawing I had done! It's a close up of an illustration of Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, by one of my favorite artists, Arthur Rackham.

Here's a link to the full size picture.

Kathleen said...

Arthur Rackham's work is wonderful. ;) I love that icon too!

I once had the chance to visit a "Messianic" jewish service and it was facinating. I even got to attend one of their ritual dinners from the jewish tradition (don't ask me which one, I couln't pronounce it if I wanted to).

They have so many tradtions that are still carried over today. Their music is so interesting/ and full of history. I am amazed by them, because it is very hard for them to convert because they have a lot of family/cultural issued to overcome first. Fantastic, strong people!

D.L. White said...

That's cool, Kathleen, that you were able to visit a Messianic Jewish service. I didn't know you'd had that opportunity.