“Anywhere Is Home”
Going outside of our comfort zone is a very difficult thing for many of us. It is certainly something that is challenged when one decides to preach the gospel and work with a congregation regularly in that capacity. I know of some younger men who desired to preach, but they avoided it out of fear of having to move away from home. The thought of being away from family and the familiar surroundings of home can indeed be frightening. I remember, after having made the decision to preach the gospel “full-time,” a conversation I had with a gospel preacher whom I respect very much.
He encouraged me and commended me to the work…but he also spoke some words that were quite frightening at the time: “You can’t really go home again. The place where you grew up will never feel quite the same. The love and fond memories will always be there…but you’ll also feel like a kind of visitor.” Needless to say, that was a bit of terrifying news for a guy who thought he would be raised, live, and die in Walnut Hill, Florida! I knew all the dirt roads, and all the creeks, and the characters who populated them – how could we leave that?
We chose to go through with the move anyway, and I sure am glad we did. Not that I was glad to be leaving the family and dear brethren back home – that was extremely difficult – but because it forced me to grow and to grow up in a lot of ways. Since then, I have learned that home is not defined by the dirt you’re standing on; home is, in many ways, defined by the people you are surrounded by. I’ve learned some things that have helped me in facing the unknown, and I hope they will be a help to you, too, should you find yourself in a similar situation.
Home is where my family is. I am blessed to have a loving wife and two precious little girls. Big or small, elaborate or modest, whatever house I’m in is a home if they’re with me. We often sing the song, “Count Your Blessings,” and those three girls are always high on that list! Life can be busy, and it is easy to get caught up in and strung out by the “stuff.” Don’t forget the huge blessing that is family:
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12). A Godly wife is a treasure. God knows that, He intended that, and He wants us to realize it, too.
Raising children God’s way is hard work. But they are also one of the greatest blessings we will ever know in this life: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…” (Psalm 127:3-5).
Do we take time to thank God for such blessings? They are a huge part of what defines “home.”
Home is where my brethren are. My brethren are not the people I “go to church with.” They are blood-bought saints of the Most High God. In this we are very much “blood kin.” Their love for the truth of the Scriptures, their humble willingness to submit to the commands of the Lord – my brethren encourage me daily, and they complete my life. This should not come as a surprise, for it is what God intended (Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
The apostle Paul understood how Christians ought to see their brothers and sisters in Christ: “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved” (Philippians 4:1). He loved them, he thought about them constantly, and he longed to be with them again. When I feel that way about my brethren, my life will be much better for it – and wherever I am will feel like home.
Home is anywhere, as long as my Lord is with me. When fears abound, I need to be reminded of this! When I obeyed the gospel, believing in Christ and being baptized into Him (Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:26-27), my sins were washed away and I was added to His church (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). We are joined to Him, and He is part of us: our Head, our Lord, our perfect sacrifice, our Judge, and our High Priest and Mediator. Friends, with someone like Him walking with us and lighting the way, there is no need to be overcome by fear! Indeed, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Thinking along these lines, we cannot help but be reminded of the song, “Anywhere Is Home”: “Earthly wealth and fame may never come to me, and a palace fair, here mine may never be; but let come what may, if Christ for me doth care, anywhere is home, if He is only there.”
Still, we have to keep something else in mind. Everything I’ve told you is only true in a temporary sense in this life. Because the reality is – this world is not my home. It was never meant to be. My true abode is a heavenly one, worshiping around the throne of Almighty God.
Yes, God has blessed me in many wonderful ways in this life. But as long as we are in this world, there will be struggles, there will be temptations to resist, and there will be pain to endure. That is why, like Abraham, we desire something better, that is, a heavenly country (Hebrews 11:16).
Remember: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing thru. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue; the angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” With this hope ever before us, we can face anything this world and Satan throw against us.
Do you have this hope? Jesus is the author of eternal salvation for all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Have we obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ – which includes believing in and confessing Him as the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10), repenting of our sins (Acts 3:19), being baptized into Him (Galatians 3:26-27), and living faithfully until death (Revelation 2:10)?