Sometimes you have to run far away to fall back into the arms of the living God. He waits while we pack up and leave for pilgrimage. He instills in us the wanting for eternity. The shrine, the rock, the mountain, they are all great places to pray. But prayer is a movement that we carry with us in the very beating of our heart. Prayer is home.
I wanted to visit all the holy places of the world, all the places God had been. The Western wall, the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan, all of it. I dreamed of Israel, the Vatican. None of these places are inner movement. None of these places are home.
We travel away to find we are far away. We travel to find God when He is among us. Why do we go so far away to find the one that is right Here? He was next to me and I left, I left Him at home to search for Him far away. He was still there but more familiar in the place that I left. Because the place I left is home.
I found myself far from His face, but not His heart. I found Him before I left in an unexpected hug from a disabled man in a Starbucks. He hugged me at the coffee bar. His shirt read “Donut Swim With Sharks.” He smiled and I accepted his gracious hug. He was home. I was home.
Home is my closet, where prayer happens amongst the clothes. Home is my children’s hugs and my far away sister who is never that far away. Home is the deepness of the scriptures, the pain of following Jesus and the forward movement of the journey. These are not physical things, they are internal. Home is wherever you are…
Don’t travel far to find Him, sit where you are. There are no Old Testament sacrifices, but New Testament ones. The sacrifice of leaving old things behind, the sacrifice of conforming our hearts to him, the sacrifice of being persecuted to show God’s goodness. That can all occur in the exact same spot, and in most cases it does.
We can run away from ourselves and we will still miss home. If you know Him, that is home. You know where Home is. It is wherever He is. And He is everywhere…
It is nice to visit, but the world is cruel. His arms are greater than every pain. He hides me in the shelter of His lovingkindness, His wings are eternally expansive. Pain is good before Him, He makes it precious. Suffering is just part of who we are, part of the process. He makes that good too. No, He makes that perfect, and worth it, and an acceptable sacrifice.
You don’t have to leave, don’t have to go. He is the stranger among you, the person that hurt you, the unfairness life throws you. All of it a test. Will we endure for His sake or turn our backs when it gets excruciating? He walks in pain, is pain, knows pain. He is the pain of wanting for Home.
Do not turn outward but inward to the one that created your heart. You will try to escape this life, but He won’t let you. There is only one who can and will make you whole. His name is Jesus, and He is the son of the living God. Dreadful is it to fall into His hands. Come home.