An Easter Reflection: The Joy Of Being Home
By: Randy Alcorn
(Editor’s Note: On the eve of His death, Jesus offered these encouraging words: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Since Easter is next Sunday, we offer this excerpt from Randy Alcorn’s best-selling book, Heaven, in which he describes what lies ahead for Jesus’ followers.)
When I see fish from the ocean in an aquarium, I enjoy watching them, but feel as if something’s wrong. They don’t belong there. It’s not their home. The fish weren’t made for that little glass box; they were made for a great ocean. I suppose the fish don’t know any better, but I wonder if their instincts tell them that their true home is elsewhere. I know our instincts tell us that this fallen world isn’t our home—we were made for someplace better.
Theologian Donald Bloesch suggests, “Our greatest affliction is not anxiety, or even guilt, but rather homesickness—a nostalgia or ineradicable yearning to be at home with God.” Christian slaves sang of “going’ home to live with God” and a chariot “comin’ for to carry me home.” Christians have always thought of going to Heaven as going home. When Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us, he spoke of building us a home. To anticipate Heaven, then, we need to understand the meaning of home.
Have you ever been on a trip that became miserable, where everybody got sick or everything went wrong? What did you want more than anything? To go home. In your imagination you could feel your comfortable bed, taste a home-cooked meal, and picture the company of family and friends laughing together in front of the fire, telling stories about what went wrong on your trip. No matter how much we enjoy our adventures away, we anticipate coming home. Knowing we can come home is what keeps us going—and that’s what Heaven should do for us. It should keep us going because it’s our eternal home, the welcome refuge that awaits us and calls our name.
I don’t mean to romanticize home. I know many people have had terrible experiences at home. But our true home in Heaven will have all the good things about our earthly homes, multiplied many times, but none of the bad.
The adage says, “You can never go home again.” It means that while we were gone, home changed and so did we. Our old house may have been destroyed or sold, been renovated or become rundown. In contrast, when this life is over—and particularly when we arrive on the New Earth—God’s children will truly be able to come home for the very first time. Because our home in Heaven will never burn, flood, or be blown away, we’ll never have to wonder whether home will still be there when we return. The new heavens and New Earth will never disappear.
They’ll give a wonderful permanence to the word home…. My wife and I have spent wonderful moments with family and friends—at Christmas, on vacation or simple times in the family room after dinner—and we’ve said those enchanting words: “It doesn’t get any better than this.” No matter how difficult your life has been, you have said this about some magnificent moment, haven’t you? Can you think of even one time in your life when, even for a fleeting moment, that seemed to be true? Well, it isn’t true.
The most ordinary moment on the New Earth will be greater than the most perfect moments in this life—those experiences you wanted to preserve or hang on to but couldn’t. It can get better, far better, than this—and it will.
With no fear that life will end or tragedy will descend, that dreams will be shattered or relationships broken.
We were all made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place. If you know Jesus, I’ll be with you in that resurrected world. With the Lord we love and the friends we cherish, we’ll embark together on the ultimate adventure, in a spectacular new universe awaiting our exploration and dominion. Jesus will be the center of all things, and joy will be the air we breathe. And even if we think “it doesn’t get any better than this”—it will.