One of the greatest gifts we have is being able to find our true home. God is not only the Lord Almighty, he is also our Father and we can find our home with him.
But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies - make your way straight before me. (Psalm 5:7-8 NIV)
Homecomings are very important. One of the things I particularly look forward to when I'm travelling is coming back home. After being away for a few days I begin to think about home. Of course, my wife and family are never far from my thoughts, it's just I begin to miss the familiarity of him. My armchair, my stuff, my 'normal' routine; not having to think about what's next, I can relax and, well, be at home.
Jesus makes a very important distinction between a slave and a servant in John 8. A slave does not belong whereas a son belongs to the family; he has a permanent place there. Many people live as slaves not knowing that they belong to the family. This is why a homecoming is so important. We need to know that we belong, that the Father has a place prepared for each one of us, a place that we can call home.
Homes are meant to be safe places, places of rest and peace. Sadly, that's not the case for many whose experience has been one of brokenness, chaos and pain. It's understandable why such people want to avoid anything called 'home' or why they prefer an isolated existence with limited interaction with others.
The Father has a place for us all. It's a place in his heart that is reserved for you. It's a place where you'll feel secure and know that you're loved. It's a place where you will come to know that you are no longer a slave but a child of God. It's the place called home.
Last week I wrote about how constant the plans of the Lord are. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the Lord and he does not change. He is loving us with an everlasting love.
“I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you as sons and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me." (Jeremiah 3:19 NIV)
This is, I believe, the eternal plan of the Father. In Ephesians 1 Paul writes that, from before the creation of the world, we were meant to be sons and daughters to the Father. Although everything changed for us through the fall, God did not change. His plan remained the same and it does so today, for us.
This verse in Jeremiah summarises God's heart for his people: he wants to treat us as sons, he wants us to know that we belong and he wants us to live in the fulness of our inheritance. This is his desire but it seems there is something preventing that desire being fulfilled.
What stops the Father's desire being fulfilled is our independence which is founded on rebellion. We do not come to him and call him 'Father'. He is reaching out to us. Can we respond with an 'Abba' cry in our heart? As we turn and acknowledge him as Father so we are able to walk into the affirmation of our identity, our belonging and our inheritance. We do not have to continue to live as orphans, we can come home. There is an open invitation for you to step into the arms of love.
There's a lot of chaos and uncertainty in the world right now. And there seems to be few answers. It's too easy for us to feed on this and all that does is instil fear in our hearts. Fear paralyses. Fear is the opposite of love; it destroys our peace and takes away our rest. However, there is another way!
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:10-11 and 20-22 NIV)
We have a choice. Are we going to focus on the chaos and uncertainty or are we going to trust the One whose plans are eternal and unchanging? The news is depressing but it is not something that phases our Father. He is aware of everything that is happening, he is aware of the pain and suffering and he promises to be with us as we inevitably go through it.
We do not have to place our trust in the ways of the world. We can turn and put our hope in the Lord; he is the one who saves us, he lifts us up to a safe place, high above the reach of the enemy. He does not create fear or uncertainty for he is LOVE. Fear paralyses, love sets free. Fear robs us of peace and rest, love builds up. Fear is insecure, love is secure. Fear is a house built on sand, love creates the most secure and safe dwelling place for us. Fear punishes, love affirms.
There is no fear in love and so today I encourage you to put your hope in the Lord, in the One whose eternal love is always with us. This is our peace and rest.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.