I’m still working on Tim Keller’s “The Prodigal God”, not because it’s a hard read (it’s really very short), but because it’s a good read. While it could be read quickly in one sitting, it’s one of those that you read a little, then chew on it, then read a bit more, then chew. It’s made me have a whole new appreciation for this well-known parable.
This week, I’ve been reading the chapter on homecoming. Not the fried-chicken and potato salad gospel-sing homecoming, but the idea of really coming home. In the prodigal son’s waking up and realizing that all the glitz and glamour of the world just didn’t satisfy, his yearning for home, for some sort of reunion (albeit not the one he had in mind!), drove him to risk it and set out for home.
For me, it reminds me of how I ran from the Truth for so many of my teen/early twenty years, only to wake up one day in a “far country”, just like the prodigal son, and come home. The seeds of the Word of God that had been planted in me for years, even when I was unwilling soil, finally began to sprout. The realization that nothing but Jesus could ever satisfy me gave me a hunger like nothing else. The Holy Spirit began to work in me again, after years of my rejection of His overtures. And I came home.
But what I have here is just a faint glimpse of the homecoming we all desire. Talking with my 3 year old tonight, she told me she didn’t want to go to heaven, because she wanted to be “home with you and mom.” Wow. I told her, of course, that heaven was cooler than anything she’d ever dreamed of, that as cool as Disney and Mickey Mouse are, they are not even close to how cool Heaven will be with Jesus. Not so sure she was buying, but I’m trying to plant those seeds! But she got me thinking. I see the same questions in the eyes of my sixth graders when we talk about the life to come. I see it when we talk about suffering for Christ because all that He has for us in this world is just a faint glimmer of the awesomeness that awaits in heaven! I’m not sure they’re buying it either, but I’m sowing hard.
I know this world allures us. I know full well how even the good things, the gifts from God above, can make us lose sight of the ONE thing: Jesus. I know how hard it is to put your trust in a home you can’t see, when there is a real brick-and-mortar world out there that has everything you can think of, and then some.
And I remember how I was, not that long ago. I remember how I, too, put all my hope and dreams in this world, instead of in Christ. And I remember how empty I ended up. No matter what I had, it never satisfied. Only He will satisfy the desires of my soul.
So I dream of homecoming. I dream of the day when all these faint glimmers, these shadows, give way to the overwhelming reality beyond all realities. Do you?
(Here’s a link to an example of these desires being stirred up in real life)