A few months ago I couldn’t even fathom packing up and moving out of this house. My heart just downright broke at the thought of leaving it.
This place where we went from a family of 2 to a family of 5. Where we joyfully brought 3 babies home from the hospital. Where we mourned when one didn’t make it.
This place where my boys took their first steps and celebrated their first birthdays. Where we had dance parties and camped out under the Christmas tree. Where we paced and rocked during sleepless nights and where Adam made our favorite breakfasts on Monday mornings. Where friends visited and family gathered. Where our marriage was challenged, strengthened, and flourished.
This place that was weekly full of people – teens praying together and playing board games in the sunroom and RockBand in the basement…college students drinking coffee, studying God’s Word, eating around our dining room table, and napping on our couches…engaged couples chatting in our living room, preparing for marriage, and planning their weddings…adults gathering in this house to learn, cry, laugh, and pray together.
This place that never belonged to us, but that we made into our home. It was comfortable. Familiar. Enjoyable. Attractive, even. And for all of it’s quirks and flaws, I didn’t want to leave it.
Then a few weeks ago, we found a new house in a new town. Our first home that we will have purchased and owned ourselves. It’s nothing extravagant, but it’s more than we thought we’d have and definitely more than we deserve. It’s pretty, well taken care of, and seemed put there just for us. And we got really excited.
Thus began the process of packing up this current house. The more we take down and put away, the less comfortable and attractive it’s become. The more that gets undone, the more chaotic it feels. Removing the decorations and curtains and picture frames reveals the house’s imperfections. It’s starting to feel empty and often ugly. The carpet stains that were once sweet evidence of having a house full of people are now just stains. The floors once covered with toys are now covered with boxes.
The furnace hasn’t worked since March so the house is cold. The living room ceiling is cracked and separating from the walls and could crumble with the weight of too much snow this winter. The windows are airy, the bathroom toilet leaks water all over the floor, the shower walls are beginning to cave in, and the garage door breaks at least once a month. This house has so many things wrong with it that after we move out it will eventually be torn down and become something new and entirely different.
Regardless of the memories made here, the joy it has given us, how grateful we’ve been for it, or how much we’ve loved living here, now this home is feeling more and more empty. Flawed. Uncomfortable. Broken.
I’m feeling more and more like I don’t belong here (and I’ve got the same old Switchfoot song in my head every day).
We’re consistently finding ourselves yearning and longing for our new house.
We look at the pictures at least once a day. We strategize where we’ll put furniture and how we’ll decorate. We daydream about sitting around the fireplace and playing in the backyard. The reality of living there has a direct effect on how we live here. And our hope is set on that reality.
As I’ve been studying through 1 Peter this week, I just haven’t been able to get verse 13 of chapter 1 out of my mind…
“…set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Christ Jesus.”
Just as we’re longing for our new earthly home, how much more so should I be longing for my true home.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…”
– 1 Peter 1:3-4
Because of the gospel, I have an inheritance waiting for me. A new home given and prepared for me out of His great mercy. One that I don’t deserve and did nothing to earn.
Kept not where I am, but where I’m going.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – found more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.“
– 1 Peter 1:6-7
Just as the stripping away of the comforts of our current house has made me cling to it less…just as the reality of the brokenness of our current living situation has made me yearn for something better…just as the stains and imperfections of this house are reminders of what won’t be wrong with the new house…
How much more does the pain and confusion and brokenness of this life make me long to be at home with my Savior?
“Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…”
– 1 Peter 1:8
In this I will rejoice and look forward to with inexpressible joy!
“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…”
– 1 Peter 1:18-19
My eternal home, purchased not by silver or gold or works or law-keeping or generational church-going, but by the precious blood of Jesus.
“…so that your faith and hope are in God.”
– 1 Peter 1:21
Not in the joys of this life. Not in the attractive things of this earthly dwelling. But having my faith and hope fully set on my Creator and the Author of my salvation.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
– Colossians 3:1-3
So I will enjoy this earthly home and will be increasingly grateful for the gifts and blessings that come with it. And I will strive to follow Jesus in the every day of this life. But I will do so with my hope set fully on the life that is to come.
Because I don’t belong in Martinsburg anymore. But I also won’t belong in Hatboro or anywhere else on earth God calls us either.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light…Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh…”
1 Peter 2:9, 11
So I don’t have to cling so tightly to the things of this life…even the good things…because I know that my true home is going to be far better.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…He Who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:1, 5-6
Because of the gospel, the Lord Jesus is my reward. My inheritance. My hope. My inexpressibly joy.
And my one true home.
After all, He is where I belong.
Oh, Lord, come quickly!