Russell and Duenes

The Inextinguishable Yearning for Home

with 3 comments

I wrote awhile back that gratitude was one of the surest evidences that God exists. Another such evidence is the universal human desire to have a home. By this I don’t mean a physical dwelling place, though usually house and home go together. Rather, I mean that people across all cultures and times have this built-in desire to have a place called “home,” where family, friends and good memories can be found. In our culture, we see this in the fondness and familiarity with which people speak of their “home towns.” Or we see it in the fervency with which people root for their “home team” in athletics. After a long vacation, even a very enjoyable one, we are apt to say something like, “It’s good to be home.” And we very clearly see the desire to be home around these Christmas holidays. Consider the words to our songs: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “There is No Christmas Like a Home Christmas,” “Please Come Home for Christmas,” “Through the years, we all will be together, if the fates allow,” and “Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore; faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more.”

But why this universal longing for something more than just a dwelling place, but for a home? We look again to our nature as people specially created in the image of God. This longing has been hard-wired into us, and it reflects the intention and will of the creator that we have a home in him, among his people. For God has said,

1 Jesus said to His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… 6So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

Abraham, when he went out from his homeland, “was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10).

The faithful men and women of the past “all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb. 11:13-16)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Rev. 21:3)

As part and parcel of God’s imprint upon us, we have a desire to be at home with him and his people. And thus our longings to be “home for the holidays,” though sometimes idolatrous and distorted, bear witness that we are not simply chemical compositions alive on this earth by accident. For mere agglomerations of chemicals do not long for a homeland, to dwell forever among good friends and family, where they can feel secure with a benevolent King over the realm. No, our desire for home testifies that Christ made us for himself, not only to provide for us eternal homes, but to Himself be our home, our dwelling place, our shelter and fortress.



Written by Michael Duenes

December 16, 2011 at 6:30 am

Posted in Reflections, Theology

3 Responses

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  1. To me, this longing for a home is one of the things that makes Christian living *easier*, too. It’s easier to look forward to a future with God when I realize that there really is a home for me that can fill the longing, and this world isn’t it.

    Samson J.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    • Right, and I believe C.S. Lewis said something to the effect of, “If I find in myself certain desires that nothing in this world can satisfy, it must mean that I was made for another world.”


      russell and duenes

      December 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  2. And, of course, this is why Narnia (or MIiddle-Earth, or whatever other mythical universe) appeals to our wistful longing.

    Samson J.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

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