Vacations can be fun and exciting, relaxing or exhausting, long or short. Before a vacation, I anticipate what I will do on vacation, the places I will go and people I will see. Before my recent vacation to New York, I purchased tickets for a Broadway show and to climb to the crown of the Statute of Liberty. I made hotel reservations and airline travel plans. I thought about all the places I would eat and how I would get around the city. I felt restless and looked forward to a break from my routine at home.
But it didn’t take long for me to feel homesick. Regardless of the destination or the planned activities, vacation can make me grow weary and long for the routine of home. While in New York, I longed for the restfulness of my own bed and the quiet of my own home. I longed to sit all day in my chair at work instead of walking what seemed like endless miles along the busy streets of New York and through museums and parks. By the time we were ready to leave I really, really just wanted to go home.
Yet my “home” in Oregon is not really my home. It is only a stopover in a long journey to my real home. I think the anticipation of going on vacation is similar to the anticipation of going to my real home. I have faith that someday I will see my true home and will grow restless and weary no more. The author of Hebrews wrote of a number of Biblical characters who traveled the journey of life led by God towards their promised home, living in faith that God would deliver what He had promised.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16.
I am an alien and a stranger here on earth. While I am here I will enjoy the journey; I will make and fulfill a multitude of plans. I will grow restless at times wanting more; I will grow weary at times wanting less. And someday I will get to the point that I just want to go home. I’m not to that point yet, but when the time comes I’ll be ready for the true rest and joy of my heavenly home.
The Christian band Third Day sings a great, rockin’ song called “Other Side” that speaks to this idea of a better place. The chorus and second verse are:
Take me to the other side
‘Cause I need something better
Take me to the other side
‘Cause I want to live forever
One thing that’s for sure I know
This won’t be an easy road
Let me ask before I leave
Won’t you come along with me
Where is your true home? Are you an alien and stranger here on earth? Do you know that God has much greater things in store for you when this journey is over? I’m going there some day. Won’t you come along with me?