Thirteen days ago I was on a plane that touched down on the runways of the Orlando airport. I had spent the past 46 days overseas. In some ways, that seems like a short time span. In other ways, it was a lifetime.
Coming back from a summer in Africa, touching down in Orlando, entering through U.S. customs, and riding the tram over the sunny palm tree dotted Florida, I quietly walked ahead. It felt less like a homecoming than I expected. A piece of me remained in that exotic continent. I cannot say I call Africa home. Still, America felt less like home to me than when I had left it a month and a half before. In a way, I felt a loss of place. I had changed. In my time gone, America had changed. My residency here felt a little more temporary. Riding in an AC-furnished vehicle on the interstate away from the airport, I saw America through different eyes. Not bad eyes. I still loved the country of my birth. But I had also experienced love for another continent.
How do you pick up the pieces of life in a place that was once all you knew? I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I think the answer lies in knowing that America—this country that I still ache and pray for—is not my home. Nor is that beautiful, black, vibrant country where I saw God in a new way. I fell in love with Jesus this summer. This loss of a place I feel has an answer. It is found in Him. My home is in Him.
This verse has been speaking to me:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches
us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
The age in which we now live is called the “present age.” It is present, it is now, but it is not forever. The verse says, “while we wait”; we are waiting. We are not complete. Not yet. It is common to humans to feel most at home with people they connect with, click with, the group they identify with. We use possessive pronouns—“my friends,” “my family,” “my country.” This is what Jesus has done for us. He gave Himself to redeem us…to purify us for Himself…that He would have a people that are His very own. Bought with His precious blood, we are His. Our hearts will never be at home until they are home with Him.
My parents have always said that homesickness is a good thing because it testifies to the bonds you have with those you miss. I want to be homesick for Jesus. I want to hasten His coming by spreading His gospel to the nations, including this nation in which I now find myself. I want to remember my true home. But I want to make the waiting count. This is not our forever home. But we are here on earth nonetheless. We are here for a reason. And we have work to do.