February 16

“Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.” Nahum 1:12

The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may tarry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at day break. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, “If needs be.” The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to our Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.

Be patient, O sufferer!  The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God’s commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself—ah! that will more than repay for all. (Streams in the Desert)

Your story and mine is unapologetically about leaving home and finding it again. Home always was and always will be defined by the ones who know you deeply and value you despite the truth they discover about you. “I live in my own little world. But it’s OK, they know me here” (Lauren Myracle). Home for me as a boy growing up in Port Arthur was Mother. I do not say that to take anything away from Dad, but Momma held time and space together for our family with Herculean strength. She still does even though she has been gone from us more than five years. Home was wherever Mom was, especially when she was on duty in the church library or at the Bible Book Shoppe where she worked to help make ends meet. I relate to what Elizabeth Kostova writes: “It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.” I took home for granted as a child, but went in search of it again as a young man when I went away to college. Unfortunately, I lost my way choosing the wrong road back. I eventually came to my senses in a distant land, only to realize that home was somewhere I didn’t belong. “How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home” (William Faulkner).

Credit divine intervention and a good woman with helping me find home again. I cling to it now like a drowning man clutching driftwood to preserve his head above water. Whoever opined familiarity as contemptible didn’t know beans from parched coffee about what it means to return home. Whether returning home from a business trip, vacation, or long endured emotional void—the result is the same: in a word, contentment; in two words, safe place. “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned” (Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes). Home cushions every blow and points beyond the pain to eternal wholeness.

The good news for each of us is that God did the unthinkable so we may return home and stay put. “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition” (James Baldwin). Blessed is the individual who finds unconditional love in the Father who declares us home with every embrace. Believe it or not, one day we will see that the suffering of this life helped us find our way home. The empty tomb declares with resounding voice, “You can go home again.”

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