Brian and I enjoyed taking our kids to different universities. We took the tours, attended games and tried to get a real feel for the different campuses. Our hope was that our children would realize that they could do all things through Christ who strengthens them and we believe this generation has big callings. On these trips, if we knew college students attending the campuses we are visiting we loved to take them to dinner. We had the privilege of doing just that many times!
On one such occasion, we were leaving dinner with two precious young ladies driving back to the hotel and I said to my kids, “We are sowing seeds. I am trusting God that when you guys are off at school other families will come and love on you. They will bring a touch from home.” Now my oldest is married with children of his own. Jake is in medical school and my Madi is a senior at Texas A&M.
The Lord reminded me of that thought recently.
What are the things that our children miss, actually long for while away at school or on a summer camp? They miss the food. The late-night talks with mom and dad. They miss the safe and secure feeling of being home. They miss the fellowship and fun times with friends. They miss being tended to. They miss their siblings and maybe even the occasional argument. They miss the warmth of the fireplace and the light on when they pull in the driveway. They simply miss home.
Understanding that as mom and dad, when our kids are at camp or off at school we do our best to ease their longing. We send them care packages that contain their favorite snacks and sweet notes of love. We facetime and talk several times each week. When we see something that would make them laugh or simply reminds us of them, we send a text. We pray for the tests they take. We send them a new jacket for the fall that of course smells like home and pictures of all the recent events to give them a glimpse of home. We understand their longing.
The sweetest thought occurs to me, our Father knows the same about us. We long for home for He has placed eternity in our hearts. We have heard stories about home and we imagine what it will be like. We long for it, even if we don’t realize that is where our hope resides. So, because He is a good and gracious Father, He desires to ease our longing and He sends us gifts from home. He is willing to talk anytime we choose. He sends us sweet notes of love in the smiles of family and the beauty all around us. He is with us during our tests and He is there to lend an ear and offer advice. He sends us smells from home after spring showers or during a walk through the woods. He is faithful to send pictures through a sunrise or an ocean view to give us a glimpse into the majesty of home. In His eyes and our intimacy with Him we feel the safety and security of home with the light left burning for us. He is a wonderful Father.
We are not home yet thus the longing remains. But a little longing only makes that walk down the drive way a bit sweeter.
“If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. “ Hebrews 11:15 – 16
I’m praying for you, shield to shield!