Nearer Home

Nestled in the hills of western Pennsylvania lies an undistinguished village, part way between the larger towns of Indiana and Punxsutawney It is scarcely more than a settlement: a few houses, the obligatory gas station, an anonymous restaurant and little else. But what it does have is a name — a name that is announced, well in advance of its arrival by two highway signs. A few minutes apart, they read HOME…..12, and then again, HOME…..8.

Home, Pennsylvania, apart from its few residents, is a place that is largely overlooked, and unremarkable. But as I’ve made my way up that winding, narrow highway, one thought has come repeatedly to mind: “With each passing moment, I am nearer Home.”

In the entirety of the English language, there are few words that carry such weight and emotion as the word “home”. For all but the most deprived or depraved, it is a word that unleashes a flood of feelings, histories and memories, loves and longings, hopes and dreams. And for the weary traveler, it is the heart’s great ambition–going home!

I, for one, am glad to have something more than a house at the end of my journeys. No mere street address, but a real, genuine home, a haven of love and laughter, a refuge from life’s chill wind, a world of warm embraces, a universe of tender affection. In a word, it’s home!

But, for all their joys, earthly homes are not perfect. There are mixed with the happy memories, other sentiments as well. We cannot deny that at times there have been sorrows, and bitter tears. Not every memory is a happy one, try as we might to focus on the brightest and the best.

And so, while home is truly the refuge of the heart, it is an imperfect place, the shadow of a higher longing, the shape of a more perfect home. Like much of earth’s beauty, it is a tantalizing glimpse of what could be – what should be – and we ache for the fullness of what we have only known in part.

For the child of God, there is one inescapable conclusion: earthly homes point to our Heavenly Home. The work of Christ, in all its fullness, has not only prepared a people for His home, but also a glorious home for His people (John 14:1-3). And the day is coming, sooner than we imagine, when we will at last be at Home.

Beloved saints, with each passing moment, we are nearer home! What hope this inspires, what joy this infuses, what obedience this cultivates, as Heaven’s glorious prospect dawns upon our souls. The sins and weights of life are cast off, and home-bound pilgrims rise to walk another day toward the city of our God.

“Lift up your heads!” Home is in view. The golden door swings wide, and Jesus is standing there. Our blessed Lord is waiting to receive us, embrace us, welcome us home! And then, like children, perhaps we’ll sing:

“No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare.
For everyone is happy;
Nor can be happier there!”