Last week a massive, destructive tornado blew through a suburb just south of my home, killing 26 people, destroying over 3,000 structures. It's path touched numerous people and places that I knew, creating in me a foggy experience of being a victim while not being a victim. There are several amazing and heartbreaking stories that have come from this event, but the most striking thing to me is everyone's concept of home. And how very, very different it can be.
A home is considered the place you sleep and store your stuff.
Home is a family of people. Or a significant other. Wherever they are, you are home.
Home is felt in belongings: mementos of a life, of loved ones, of precious times; possessions that signify hard work and worthy accomplishments: things that set you apart, that fill out your identity.
The comfort and reassurance of home is found in a routine. Laundry day or a favorite coffee shop.
This past week so many people have been stripped of one or more of these. Houses, lives, belongings, and certainly routines are different at best. What this brings to my mind is the struggle we all face in realigning where our home really is. The apostle Paul said he had grown able to be content with little or with much. To me, that says he could be at home in any circumstance. Why? I think it's because he was at home, truly home, in his relationship with God. And that relationship never left him as long has called God his home.
In the past 30 years of my life (give or take, ha!), I have been guilty of making all of these things my home. And I'd probably add food to that list as well. Home, in whatever form, is where we go to for comfort, security, and a protection from all that isn't going right. If my day doesn't start the way I want it to, if a person doesn't relate to me or stay near me the way I'd like, or I'm deprived of things I want, any of these things easily begin to take priority over my relationship with God.
It all can be taken away and "my only hope is You, Jesus" as the song goes. It's a beautiful thing to take pleasure in the good gifts we are given. It's certain that God designed us to enjoy our families, our homes, a great meal. However, if I'm continually fixed on all that isn't my relationship with God, then I have no hope. What seemed so important last week or the week before, suddenly is irrelevant in so many lives. And in a lot of ways, that is a beautiful thing.
Pray actively and do what you can for the heartbroken parents and families. As someone put it, God knows what it is like to see a child die and buried. He is the only one who can provide the comfort needed to survive such grief. And as for the rest of us, join me in recognizing how limited our 'homes' are and instead turning to God for comfort and security.
Phil. 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.