by Michelle Bauman
I drove home from Branson yesterday. It’s usually a long trip, but yesterday’s route was much longer than usual. Though I don’t know whether it was road construction or accidents that caused my GPS to lead me on a wandering, scenic expedition, but I do know that I saw places yesterday I’ve never seen before and traveled country roads and highways I didn’t know existed. In fact, the landscape was so foreign, that for some time I was certain I was lost, certain Google Maps had taken me the wrong way.
But about two hours from home, the trees along the road declared I was headed in the right direction; their cheerful blossoms gave me hope. As most of you know, I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life, and though there is a beauty in each landscape, I can honestly say that no place is more beautiful than southern Indiana in the spring. The trees are in their full glory; their branches are filled with blooms of springtime hues: pinks, purples, soft greens, and whites. As the edges of the roads began to fill with dogwood, red buds, and cherry trees, my excitement and longing for home grew. I was close. I was almost home. I would be arriving soon.
Home. For a variety of reasons, I’ve been contemplating what makes home so special this spring. Is it family? Familiarity? Safety? Love? How deeply is our concept of home connected to our sense of belonging? How profoundly is it woven into our identity?
As human beings, we recognize that a home is necessary for a person’s well-being. But as Christians, we know that home is even more. A good home is a life-affirming gift from God, and it’s a gift He desires to give on both sides of eternity. Jesus affirms this when He says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-4).
As we find ourselves on various roads in life, especially those we hadn’t planned to travel, it’s okay to long for the homecoming God promises even as we enjoy the view He’s prepared. It’s good to remember where our home is located and to anticipate the new spring that awaits. And as we look for, participate in, and rejoice over the signs God provides for His path home – His Word, Sacraments, and even Christian community—we’re not only strengthened but also filled with hope. We travel with confidence knowing that our home is ready. Our rest awaits. And Jesus is waiting at the door to welcome us.