For the final post in my series on *home*, I have two pieces that are incredibly similar, from two people who don’t know each other…
First, Steve Painting (who happens to be my Dad!) writes on the importance of relationships and faith in a life of fairly temporary physical homes.
12 years ago a friend showed me something he’d read in the Bible. The piece in the Bible spoke about living in tents in strange lands and he said to me ‘I think this applies to you.’ I was about to spend two years at a theological training college prior to me becoming a minister in the Church of England. Since that time I have been able to relate closely with the essence of that passage. In a physical sense we’ve had a lot of temporary dwellings and no real place to call our own and in another sense I’ve never quite felt at home in the Church. I’ve felt like a bit of a stranger, not quite belonging or fitting into the culture.
Yet there are other things into which I am located and feel secure. I am confident that Jesus is with me and that I am where he wants me to be. You could perhaps call that faith. I also value the strength of relationships that I have in my marriage, with close family and with friends. Such things give you a sense of rootedness and location and that perhaps is home, but the final part of the section from the Bible my friend showed me related to a place yet to come. Maybe we won’t feel totally rooted in this life and are waiting for the permanence of the next. Then we will know the true meaning of home.
Home is as much relationships as it is location – some of my family
As a Christian, for me, home is more than just a physical location. Seven years ago a friend had a ‘word’* for me about my ‘home’ being in God and not a geographical location. Good job really, as in those seven years I’ve lived in five different places, one even outside the UK! In the physical sense, I consider my current place or ‘home’ as a retreat for me, somewhere I can have alone time and peace; quiet moments before the busy bustle of life hits once I open the front door. Other times it’s somewhere I can open to guests for an evening, where free conversation and bonding can be had. Above all, it’s temporary. A shelter for the ‘now’ while I wait for the ‘next’. I’ll certainly discover favourite places, activities and places of comfort but I choose to place my roots in an eternal source, rather than a building, town or city. Perhaps one day I’ll feel called to settle but for now I remain thankful for the blessings my current ‘home’ brings whilst keeping my ears open for where to take my ‘tent’ next!
Picture – ‘Home’ by Louise
I too, am a Christian, and feel both encouraged and challenged as I read the thoughts above. I am encouraged, because I too, have a sure faith that this life is not the end, that I belong with God and that He is a strong and unwavering Rock for my life. I am challenged, because though I believe these things, living out the beliefs is altogether harder than simply agreeing with them in principle. It is easy to cling to places or material things, instead of basing my sense of security on the eternal things that remain whether I am rich or poor, alone or among friends, in pleasant or unpleasant surroundings.
I am so thankful for the relationships that I have that give me little ‘homes’ all around the country – and I will continue to pray too that I can truly know the freedom of being rooted in God and the hope of eternity.
[*A ‘word’ is a term Christians use when a phrase of encouragement has come to mind when praying for someone]