Homing Instincts

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I just had to go home. We were in Colorado for a short time, but I had to go back…

This is the home of my childhood. My parents don’t live there anymore, but this is where they raised four children. This is the place where my folks say the hardest years happened, and they also say life was the best here. Everytime I return to Colorado, I just have to drive by and look at this spot and ponder all the memories, all the moments I lived there.

In this yard, I made snow angels. snowmen, snow octopuses, ran barefoot on wet grass, and slid down a big yellow slip ‘n slide. I also sat on the front porch at night and gazed at the stars. I thought about the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.”

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Homing instincts are strong. They govern the journeys of most of the animal kingdom. The true-life-tales of fish returning home to spawn, birds flying north again after winter, the swallows returning to Capistrano, dogs and cats navigating homeward, back to their masters from many miles move us to amazement.

It’s the journey home story that puts a lump in our throats. And it is a story we never tire of hearing.

Homing instints are God-given.

Our first missionary experience abroad started out on a high for our family 14 years ago, but soon it became difficult for me. Communism had just fallen, and Odessa, Ukraine, was spare, gray, dark, filled with Soviet-style concrete apartments, and dilapidated and crumbling buildings. The language was strange, the customs odd, the culture so far from my own. The smells alone drove me away, much less the rough living accommadations. My heart grew homesick. The raw emotional emptiness literally became physical.

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In the peak of my discontent, I was walking in downtown Odessa, and the Holy Spirit breathed a word in my heart that changed my attitude. It changed my life.

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations-the City designed and built by God (Hebrews 11:8-10).

In a few days, my husband and I will embark on a three-month, four-nation journey. We will leave the comfort and warmth of our beautiful home. I am eager about the trip and still I know that it will cost me something. I am not romantic about it. We will enjoy situations where we will abound and abase, from a fine dining restaurant in the peeks of the Troodos mountains to the dirt floors of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where some of the poorest Jews in the world live. We will squeeze together with others, wash our clothes on the run, and not watch television.

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I am chuckling as I write this. Oh my sacrifices seem so trivial now–so ridiculous=–but when I get there, I know at times I will be homesick for the comforts and routine of home.

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But like Abraham, I must keep my eye on the real treasure–the city, whose Builder and Maker is God… the city that is not built with human hands…

That is where the spirit of humankind yearns to go. And those homing instincts are the strongest. That is is exactly what compels us to go… The world needs to know there is a home beyond this home.

It seems the old American adage that came from a fairytale, rings true afterall, because it is based on biblical truth:

“There’s no place like home.”

Soon, I will be leaving home, but I can see home shimmering in the distance…


3 thoughts on “Homing Instincts

  1. I am writing this from Thailand, where I am working on Public Health field practicum for a Masters degree. I too am missing home – mostly my family. I am in a town on the Burma border near a large Refugee camp filled with 60000 Karen people who have fled Burma because of the war the Myanmar military is waging against its own people who seek democratic governance. I chose this place because it takes me as close as possible to the place where I think Messiah Jesus would be found today ministering, as he did during his earthly ministry among the poor, the minorities, the women and the sick. The war is so close here, yet I feel so safe in the Lord.

    I do not understand suffering as the Karen have endured it. Perhaps I never will. Could I endure if I had my tongue, limbs and arms were chopped off? May my so very small speck of faith be enough to take me to Lord only in His perfect time.

    Somehow I trust that my time here will make some difference in the Lord’s kingdom.

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