Back-in-the day, for me (and maybe for some of you), a typical autumn afternoon unfolded something like this: you step out of a schoolhouse with your empty lunch box and a couple of hardback books, pile into (then out of) a musty school bus, then hustle into your house for a snack — maybe a piece of bologna wrapped in enriched bread.
After regaining your strength, you toss your books somewhere forgettable, grab your cruddy, torn sweatshirt, and head outside to check out the neighborhood action. Maybe a football game in the street awaits, or a Wiffle ball game in Jim’s backyard.
Or maybe, if options are flowing slowly, you decide simply to kick a rock up the street by yourself until someone comes out to play. Maybe that pal will be your brother; or perchance, the entry turns out to be a neighborhood bully, currently strolling to troll.
All the while, whether you run or kick or scuffle along, the sun slowly sets, the wind picks up, and gradually your bones (and your runny nose) absorb the seasonal chill. But that’s okay, because you feel good — like a kid-out-of-school should feel.
Soon, more neighbors join in. You laugh and rollick together.
You wipe your nose on your cruddy sweatshirt. You sniffle. And you pause a moment, because you can’t help but look up at the majestic sky painted as daylight fades. You feel oddly contemplative — even though you don’t know what that word means, or what, exactly, might be creating a peculiar sense of yearning within your childhood chest.
Still, as you stare, you effectively feel the orange-blue glimmer of dusk tap you on the shoulder, reminding you that it’s time to run home for supper. Conceding that your youthful limbs are indeed tuckered-out, you accept the grander fact that not only is home where you ought to be right now, home is where you want to be.
Now-in-the-day, as a grown-up grown older, spiritual realities reflected in this childhood scene spill over, and into, my present thoughts and longings. Specifically, I see that I am still a child in need of schooling, sustenance, siblings, street friends, sunsets, and shelter (and possibly some cruddy sweatshirts too).
Moreover, I consider myself a child whose understanding of home continues to grow in both acuteness, and in accuracy.
It turns out, my true address is not up the street, or even on this earth; instead, my true home is with Jesus, in glory (Colossians 3:1-4; Philippians 3:20-21; Hebrews 11:13-16). He prepares a forever place for me (John 14:1-7). My destiny and my destination find fulfillment in him (Romans 8:28-30; 2 Corinthians 4-5). I look forward, with expectant hope, to a glorious homecoming with my Savior and His saints.
As revealed in The Revelation: “No longer will there be anything accursed … and his servants will worship him. They will see his face … . They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3-5).
Until I see Jesus face-to-face, though, my desire is to enjoy these present days of learning and laughing with spiritual brothers and sisters, eating spiritual food together, and engaging the action currently stirring in our own neighborhood streets (bullies included).
This I can do while gazing at the nightly glow on the horizon, knowing that each day inches us ever closer to the Day when faith becomes sight, and longing itself is no longer; when there is no need for a sun, because the Son has risen.
Oh, yes, all of God’s children are running home.