“You call this a honeymoon?” Bam! Crash! The paper-thin walls of the “Rest for Less” Motel allowed us to clearly hear the fight in the next room. At 3:00 am! They should have named that place the Restless Motel. I used to like staying in motels, but it quickly got old. Why? They weren’t “home.”
Home smells like coffee at 6:00 am. It sounds like J. J. Cale or Cool Jazz on Pandora. Home is a place of prolonged, easy hugs. Home has a chair that fits my back. My wife’s paintings awaken my memories. The tools in the shop are worn to the shape of my hands. Home is where you get homemade bread. Motels have starched, scratchy sheets, tiny bottles of shampoo and hermetically sealed cups. When I’m in a motel, my heart is yearning for home.
For the guy who wrote Psalm 84, the home he yearns for is God’s place.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:1-2)
Maybe you had a favorite grandparent whose home felt especially like home to you. That’s the way this psalmist felt about God. It’s not the house so much as the warm embrace. His life, he felt, was a journey to God’s home where, he too, would truly be at home. His mindset of heading home gives him strength through the ups and downs (the cheap motels) of his journey:
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage [the journey home to God]. As they pass through the Valley of Baca [which means the valley of tears], they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84:5-7 – my explanatory comments)
Because his life is a journey toward home, God’s home, where he can flop down on the couch and kick his shoes off, he has a different attitude toward the occasional “valley of tears.” He knows that those tough places along the way in life are also where the cool, refreshing springs are to be found. Maybe it rains a lot there in the Fall, but it’s those same valleys where the swimming holes can be found. That’s journeying “from strength to strength.” When you are headed home, you can put up with the Rest for Less Motel.
Did you know that Jesus spoke frequently about making your home in Him? He said,
“Remain in me [literally, abide, or make your home in Me}, and I will remain [make My home] in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 – my explanatory comments)
Let’s head for home…