A while back, as Tim and I were joining with our church on a homeless outreach, I met a man with a cowboy hat, a leather vest and boots. He was quite confused and went on and on about having lost his horse and saddle and having his guns taken away. Trying to ascertain his name, the most he would offer was, “Cowboy.” The more we chatted the clearer his thoughts seemed to become and the more I learned that this dear man had been all over our nation, but could never regain the place he knew in his heart he should be. He should be on a ranch, on the back of his horse (whom he called his friend), with his other “friends,” his pair of colt rifles. Though he looked the part of a rancher, he was most profoundly homeless.
Cowboy broke my heart that day, but I know God’s heart breaks for everyone who is homeless, not just those who have lost their physical home, but those whose hearts are without their Home. Just as Cowboy, we can look the part – we can look like we’re living, look like we belong, look like we have it together and yet be completely lost. We can know there is something that we are longing for beyond ourselves and still be utterly without the means of reaching it.
Everyone’s heart will be homeless until they find the only true Home offered, Jesus Christ. In Him we find all those things we have longed for, all those things we hope to attain in life. Though we could almost taste it, we were never able to take hold of it until He made it possible. As C.S. Lewis states, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
So many things in the world promise us this Home, but fall so far short of what we feel deeply in our souls should be attainable. We long for that Home, for that place of fully knowing and being fully known – and though known inside and out, loved in spite of ourselves. No matter where or in whom we seek to find that Home in this decaying world, it will not be found. But the good news is: it does exist, not outside our reach, but knocking right at the door. Jesus is our Home.
“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
“So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind…. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Ecclesiastes 2:17, 3:9-11