When I was 8 years old I spent an entire week away from home. I was filled with excitement, and fear. I was excited because this was the first year that I was able to attend church camp. But I was terrified because this was the first time that I was going to be away from my mom and dad for more than a night or two spent at grandma’s (just down the street from our house.) I wanted to be at camp, but I didn’t want to be away for that long. This experience has helped me as a camp counselor. Every year we have those younger ones, that just simply miss mommy and daddy. I feel their pain.
My parents didn’t allow me to come home early, (even though I asked repeatedly.) They made me stick it out till the end of the week. And I am glad that they did. As I look back on this experience, I know that there was were two things that kept me going throughout that week.
#1. Letters/phone calls from home.
#2. My sister who was at camp with me.
I enjoyed getting those “messages from home.” They reminded me of my parents love, they reminded me of what was waiting for me at the end of the week, they reminded me… of home. Of course I wouldn’t have been able to make it had it not been for my sister. Every time she saw me, she tried to make sure I was “having fun” and if I needed anything. She was a great encourager, and a constant reminder of home.
I recently read an article about a soldier who just returned back home, after serving 4 tours. Needless to say, he was VERY happy to be back home with his family. When asked the question “How did you cope with being away so long?” he responded, “messages from home.” He went on to say that any time they had a chance, he would be contacted by his family and he would save the letters, and the pictures. He kept them close as a constant reminder of home.
As Christians today, we also have these precious messages from home:
John 14:1-3-“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
2 Timothy 4:8- “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Philippians 3:20-“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
Revelation 2:7- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
If you are anything like me, it is easy for you to become discouraged. Discouraged because we are surrounded by grief. We are surrounded by loss, emptiness, worry, natural disasters, violence, dishonesty…. Sometimes we just need a message from home. We need to be reminded that Jesus Christ, the very son of God, not only came to this earth, not only died for our sins, not only was raised on the third day, but that He is ALSO preparing YOU an eternal home!
As we look at the world around us, rather than being discouraged by what we see, we should be encouraged by the knowledge that this world is not our home.
I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Whenever I am around them, I am reminded of heaven, I am reminded… Of home. I am reminded that I get to spend an eternity praising my God in beautiful song. I get to spend an eternity in perfect fellowship with all of my closest friends. I get to spend an eternity at the feet of my God who created the universe. I get to spend an eternity at the feet of the one who died for me. Could I be any more blessed?
“Holy Father, thank you for another day. Thank you for sending your son for my sins. Thank you Father for your forgiveness and grace. Thank you Father for the promise that one day, you will bring me home. Help me Lord to stay strong in your work until that day. In Jesus name..”