Spiritual Side Lisa Jisa

Here it comes again — that deep longing to go home. I usually get homesickness in faster rolling waves as the weather heats up in the desert, and I’m really looking forward to our trip to Wisconsin this summer.

This trip will be especially strange because my parents’ house is for sale. We moved in when I was 3, so it’s the only real “home” I remember. And visiting my grandpa isn’t the same anymore, as he lives in a care home now instead of the brown two-story with the big fieldstone fireplace. That which is familiar to me as “home” will soon no longer be.

The devastation caused by recent tornados as they ripped across the central U.S. destroyed many homes quickly. That must leave a desperate longing in the hearts of the survivors. Missionary friends have told me how they anticipate coming “home” for a visit, only to arrive and then find themselves missing the country they just left. Our hearts crave a place where we feel like we belong.

Ever since I can remember, I have felt out of place, like I haven’t quite belonged anywhere. As a child, I often told my mom that there must be some place I was supposed to live, and as soon as I got there, I’d know it. Well, I’ve lived in five different states and traveled to a number of countries, and so far, nothing has given me that “you are finally home” feeling.

Perhaps that’s because I can relate to the people mentioned in Hebrews 11:13 who “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Philippians 3:20 says that “our citizenship is in heaven.” 1 Peter 2:11 refers to us as “strangers and temporary residents.” Maybe I don’t feel like I belong here because I don’t belong here.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 describes this feeling so well when it says that God “has set eternity in the hearts of men.” Isn’t that a fascinating way to describe a longing for something beyond what we can see here and now? Our hearts long for a forever home with Him.

Jesus promised this eternal home to us in John 14:2-3. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”

Have you seen the symbol on T-shirts or bumper stickers with the letters NOTW? It stands for “Not Of This World.” When Jesus prayed for those who believed in Him and those who would believe in Him in the future, He said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). It’s a good reminder when the weight of life is bogging me down.

I am affected by sickness, weather, death, and many other things, just the same as anyone else. But God has placed eternity in my heart, and that gives me a hope beyond all that I can see here and now. Knowing this is not all there is enables me to approach life with an eternal perspective.

• Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at lisa.jisa@gmail.com.

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