“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).
Have you ever experienced the most beautiful day filled with your favorite things, people, and (of course) foods, and yet at the end of it all you still feel empty? Or maybe you’ve been trudging through your homework, midterms, and classes just to wonder what is the point of your future on this earth (midterms seem to be good at reminding us all of such existential crises!). Have you ever been struck with a strange feeling of homesickness even when you’re abiding in full, joyous company? It almost feels like something’s missing, but you don’t know what it could be because you feel you have everything you need in those moments.
You are not alone! In the passage above, Paul provides an answer to what we are longing for: Our perfect Home with Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul addresses the idea of home. He explains that this life and the places we call “home” in this world are temporary. For those trusting in Christ for salvation, we have the promise of one day being at Home with the Lord forever in His kingdom. The human longing for Heaven is also addressed in Philippians 1:21-27a, which illustrates the struggle within believers as we long for an eternal Home where we are not yet living. Both of these passages are clear that while we await Christ’s return, we have a hope to cling to.
We find our hope in the fact that this earth is NOT our home. We were created for another world, and Christ has gone before us to “prepare a place” where there will be no more pain or suffering. Jesus invites us to trust in Him and live in His Home forever (John 14:3). We can cling to the hope that feelings of homesickness or frustration regarding home are not eternal. Additionally, we can be reassured that feeling unfulfilled by our earthly home is not only normal but good. The passage above states, “we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” This verse shows that we are longing for something beyond this world. We are designed to be fulfilled by God alone, and we are created to live with our Lord in His kingdom. Sin has made this world less than desirable for hearts designed for a perfect Home with their King.
How, then, can we turn these truths and hopes into joy when our hearts are weary of our temporary home? How can we glorify our God when we are living in a world that we are not made to call home? Paul answers this question by writing, “whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him,” (2 Cor. 5:9). We are called to please the Lord, and one of the best ways to do this is by serving and delighting in Him. Paul reminds us of this calling many times throughout his letters as he instructs us to rejoice constantly, count trials as joy, always rejoice in our Lord and King, and give thanks no matter what is happening. Paul makes it clear that we are called to possess the joy of the Lord regardless of our current circumstances.
Next time you are tempted to be dismayed over an aspect of this life, remind yourself that this is not your permanent home, and that Christ will give you the ability to live joyfully even in the midst of challenging days.
The band Sidewalk Prophets puts these ideas to music so beautifully when they sing in “Keep Making Me“:
“Make me lonely/So I can be Yours/Till I want no one more than You, Lord/ ‘Cause in the darkness/I know You will hold me/Make me lonely.”
These are difficult truths to remember and put into practice, but you are not alone. When you are feeling lonely, discouraged, homesick, and tired of this temporary home, remember that those feelings are reminders that we have been promised a perfect Home. However, until we are called into our permanent Home, we are instructed to live joyfully and please the Lord on this earth. God has given us earthly homes to learn about Him and experience his love in a different way. Don’t miss this beautiful opportunity to discover God in this world He has created. But also remember, friends, that home is not where you’re going for Christmas break, or with your roommates, or where you plan to spend the next years of your life. Home is where your God is.