So where are you from?” It’s an innocuous question. Ask my husband, and you’ll be treated to an idyllic description of a 200-acre farm an hour south of Atlanta—a place filled with dogs, cats, cows, horses, goats, and honeybees. For me, it’s a bit more complicated. You see, I grew up in 12 different cities in three separate states, never staying anywhere for more than two years. And while it’s made me an incredibly efficient mover (and kept me from hoarding), it has come with some drawbacks too, including the fact I’ve never felt I belong anywhere.
I have mourned this feeling more than once and wished I had a place to call my own—land that spoke to some deep place in me, a house where I knew every creaking board and stain on the wallpaper intimately. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see that my rootlessness has some advantages as well.
For one, I’m not beholden to a single bit of the gorgeous green and blue planet that God crafted for us. I can love and steward its beauty without being bound to it. I’m also used to a certain degree of ambiguity in my life, which enables me to jump into a situation with both feet and little to no hesitation. So even though I don’t know exactly what the future holds, I’m okay with the mystery, the blank space in my mind’s eye, the what if of it all. I suspect my eternal home will be breathtaking beyond my imagining, a place where God will dwell among His people forever (Rev. 21:1-3). And what could be better than that?
In his devotional God’s Purpose for Your Life, Dr. Stanley writes, “God’s plan for you is not just building a kingdom here on earth but getting you and others ready for the heavenly one that is to come.” Notice, he doesn’t say that building a kingdom here on earth—having a home you love—is a bad thing. God’s plan “is not just” that; it includes something greater, grander, and altogether more mind-boggling than we could ever fathom.
But the lifetime between this home and the one that is to come isn’t a desolate, lonely space of years. Remember Jesus’ promise in John 14:23: “If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.” While I may long for an earthly place whereI fit, I’m not bereft in the waiting. Rather, I make my home in my Lord, and better still, He indwells me.
“God’s plan for you is not just building a kingdom here on earth but getting you and others ready for the heavenly one that is to come.”
It is interesting to note that the Greek word oikeó, which is often translated as “dwell” or “inhabit,” connotes a feeling of comfort and familiarity. Where you oikeó, you are most secure and can truly be yourself. It only makes sense. How could we not be at peace when we live with the One who has searched and known us, who loved us even before He created our innermost parts? (See Psalm 139.)
This means I am never lost, never homeless. And no matter how many times I pack up and move, my true dwelling is something I carry with me. He is where I belong—always.
Illustration by Adam Cruft