Homeward Bound

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”  John 14:1

At times God has allowed me to travel overseas as part of a teaching team of dedicated men and women influencing twenty or more countries in Asia and Africa. I consider it extraordinary that he permits me to see first hand what he is accomplishing around the world through the dynamic national leaders who are in the business of transforming the world one person at a time. Without fail, however, as soon as our extensive trip begins to wind down and our return plans take shape, my heart aches for the familiar faces of our children and grandchildren. As the homeward journey inches closer, I eagerly anticipate reentry into our exquisitely ordinary world.

When we hear Jesus speaking to his disciples in the upper room on the night before he heaved the cross to Calvary, it is as if we hear the similar sound of homesickness in his voice. For thirty-three years he has endured a journey that is about to become excruciating, and yet he understands that the news of his imminent departure has made his disciples fearful. He gives his closest friends a tender description of heaven the way a traveler would explain all the beauty and wonder of his place back home. Christ focuses on comforting them while completely aware that the anguish of his crucifixion is moments away.

In John 14 it’s as if Jesus explains, “I know your hearts are troubled right now. I understand because I have a heart like yours. But I have the perfect remedy for every troubled heart: Believe in God and believe in me! Believe I am exactly who I say I am. Believe I can do more than you could possibly imagine. Believe I am the Way through all of this, the Truth you can depend on, and the source of all Life for you.”

“Don’t allow your hearts to be troubled here on earth. This heaven I speak of is real. Believe me when I tell you that it’s not a made up imaginary place. It’s actually my Father’s house. While I build the Church through you here on earth, I’ll be building you a home in heaven. And when it is time for you to live there, I promise you I will come back and take you to live there with me forever. We will never be separated again. I promise that I will return and take you to my Father’s house in heaven and you know I always keep my promises.”

A few hours later the traveling Carpenter from Nazareth would allow his hands and feet to be pierced by nails on a wooden cross. The Son of God’s broken body and spilled blood became the only possible doorway into the Father’s house. Willing to be bound on a cross, Jesus gave us the only way to endure all the troubles of earth and one day to walk into that perfect home called heaven.

Elizabeth A. Mitchell

Photo Credit:Paul Westel

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