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God

Longing for home

In his Daily Devotional for February 1st (free registration required), Pastor Greg Laurie talks about a homesickness for heaven.

You were created to know God. You were created to go to heaven. God has put this homing instinct in you, and it will only be satisfied when you see Him face to face. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to go home?


I have experienced this longing before, and I know singer-songwriter Rich Mullins did as well, before he was called Home. Mullins wrote “Elijah” in 1983:
Elijah
The Jordan is waiting, for me to cross through
My heart is agin’, I can tell
So Lord I’m asking for one last favor from You
Here’s my heart, take it where You will
This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stony
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done
If they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind I don’t care
But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

There’s people been friendly, but they’d never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again
‘Cause it’s the finest thing that I have ever found
But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain’t never seen the other side
Still they say you can’t take in the things you have here
So on the road to salvation
I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears
There’s people been talking
They say they’re worried about my soul
Well, I’m here to tell you I’ll keep rocking
‘Til I’m sure it’s my time to roll
And when I do
But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

‘Cause when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart To say goodbye

Copyright © 1983 Meadowgreen Music, Inc.
In his 1988 song “If I Stand“, the last line is “And if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home.” The first time I heard this song, and that line, I got choked up. I was driving, and nearly had to pull over, it affected me that deeply.
A lot of Rich’s other songs were infused with similar lines on this theme. From listening to his music, and reading the posthumous biography on him, one can see how close Rich’s walk with God was, and how desperately he wanted to be in Heaven with the Lord. Yet while that longing for our true home was there, Rich realized the Lord still had work for him here, and was true to continuing that work.
This is the way we Christians should be living: with our eyes on the prize, our heavenly home, yet remaining steadfast in continuing whatever it is God has called us to do.