Mom had broken her hip badly, a break that needed an operation and a long pin to hold her leg together. It wasn’t easy for this 80-something to come back from surgery, but she focused on the day she’d eventually get to leave the hospital and return home. The medical staff and social workers, however, rerouted her to rehab first and said, “Depending on how you do there, then we’ll talk about going home.”
Mom worked hard in “the torture chamber,” as she called it, and finally found herself riding in Mary’s car back to the place she’d missed for so many weeks. As her wheelchair moved along the sidewalk toward her back door, suddenly she buried her face in her hands and burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” Mary said, alarmed at her distress.
Looking up at her home she sobbed, “I… I just… I just… didn’t think I’d ever get back here!”
I believe that’s exactly the way we’ll feel when we move from earthly life into eternity. Our current sense of longing to escape our troubles and live in the safe surroundings of a loving home will instantly be satisfied with a tsunami of joy like we’ve never known. We’ll immediately feel settled and secure, because we’ll be home.
I don’t think it’ll feel new or like someone else’s house. The presence of Divinity and the release of our 5 senses to see, feel, smell, hear and touch in new ways will find us wrapped in all things familiar, just better. It’ll seem like someone has put our house in order while we’ve been away on a journey, then added the physical, visible presence of Jesus!
In his book “Heaven”, Randy Alcorn writes, “A common misunderstanding about the eternal Heaven is that it will be unfamiliar. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we hear that in Heaven we will have new bodies and live on a New Earth, this is how we should understand the word new – a restored and perfected version of our familiar bodies and our familiar Earth and our familiar relationships. Because we once lived on Earth, the New Earth will strike us as very familiar.”
Scripture contains a mysterious verse in reference to this phenomenon: “The spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) If that’s literally true, then of course arriving in heaven truly will be coming home.
Mom used to croon to new babies, “You are precious because you’ve so recently been with God.” I used to call that nonsense, but maybe she did have something there.
In any case, I’ll never forget Mom’s overwhelming joy that day as she re-entered her own home. But when she got to heaven in 2005, I’ll bet there was no comparison.
“We would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)