Home. A noun that that is rich with meaning, feelings, and images – bestowing the one who speaks or hears its single syllable with thoughts and emotions unique to them. Often we use this word metaphorically, not referring so much to a building with four walls and a roof, but to a feeling of security, peace, rest… home. We may say, “home is where the heart is”, “home is found in the company of friends”, or more romantically “I’m at home whenever I’m with you.”
Over the past several months I’ve been immersing myself in the latest collection of recordings by artist Jason Upton, titled, “A Table Full of Strangers pt 2.”. The song writing is masterful and is only strengthened by listening to the whole record from beginning to end (an art I hope is not destined to be lost). In this collection of songs there is one that has got me thinking – challenged me. Upton sings,
“You are home, home to me, you are patient and kind.
You are peace, peace to me, you are never failing.”
It is not hard for me to recollect seasons of my life when feeling out of sorts was the norm. Time felt as thought it passed unusually fast and much of what I would have liked to have under my control was untameable. I ached for things to slow down. I ached to be able to catch my breath. I ached to be able to rest my head – truly rest my head.
I longed for home.
Upton’s lyrics spurred on these thoughts for me: For those of us who follow Jesus, home is more than an abstract concept, a concrete location and even a group of people. What Upton captures in his lyrics is an echo from the scriptures that our home, our rest, is available in our relationship with Jesus.
The gospel of John teaches us that Jesus sent the Helper, the one to be with us, to show us the way, to be our peace. In John 14:16,17 Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth… you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
There are great treasures to be mined in these verses. Home does not have to be limited to where the heart is, or with the ones we love, or a place where we catch our breath and rest (as precious as each of these are). It does not have to be a place that requires us to travel to it, or a experience that hinges on us creating the perfect space or set of circumstances. Rather home can be found in our relationship with a God who longs to interact with us, who desires to give us rest, who desires to be our home. He lives with us, and is in us. We can go there whenever, wherever, and no matter our emotional state, by simply opening our eyes, our hearts to his presence.
Upton rightly characterizes our home in Jesus to being present with Jesus, who is patient, kind, and never-failing. This makes home much more than a location where we feel security, and much more than a place to rest our heads, because when we are at home with Jesus we are available to receive from one who gives richly, who not simply provides rest, but interacts with us so that we will find true rest, and much needed healing. In this truth we are freed from a dependence on the right circumstances, time, and location to feel and experience home. The feeling and experience of home only requires our willingness to enter into being present with Jesus.
The temptation we face, that I often face, is to avoid this home. It isn’t uncommon to feel a desire for home apart from the interaction, apart from this type of rest – apart from the healing. But Jesus is always there, waiting patiently, ready to receive us however we are.
This is a reminder I need, even today. Will you join me in choosing to find home first in Jesus?
Check out Jason Upton’s Record on iTunes