Michael Buble, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Bobby Bare and Mel Tillis are just some of the singers who sang songs with the line “I wanna go home! I wanna go home! Lord, how I wanna go home!” Whenever I hear a song like that, I think about my childhood days in north Omaha where I lived with my dear ole’ papa and momma, sister and brother from 1947 to 1961. After retiring from the Navy in 1991, I’ve returned to my home area and will occasionally drive through the old neighborhood. The streets are still laid out the same. Most of the same houses are still there and many of the old trees are still standing. But every time I drive through the neighborhood, I’m reminded that it’s not the same. Butch and Suzie are not playing in the yard across the street from me anymore. Only strangers’ faces is all I see. But they all know each other and the only alien there is me. I’m the stranger! Tom Wolfe and many others are right “you can never go home again.” But there remains an aching in my heart for home. But it’s not a place in time and space. It’s a situation of love, peace, joy and contentment.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived as aliens in the world with an aching in their hearts for home. But they knew it wasn’t a physical place but a place that God would build that would transcend the physical and would reside eternal. In Hebrews 11:14-15 we read, “For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.” Isn’t that what the aching for home is really all about? Bill MacDonald writes, “Faith implanted a homing instinct in them which was never satisfied by the delights of Canaan. There was always a yen for a better land which they could call home.”[1] Faith implants in us also a homing instinct. We all know that there is something missing.

In John 8:56-58, Jesus says to the religious leaders, “‘Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” I believe that Abraham rejoiced to see Christ’s day in the dim distance. Jesus is the home Abraham, Isaac and Jacob longed for. Jesus is the home we all long for.  Long writes, “This sense of incompletion, the sadness of an unfinished journey, yearns for resolution. Are we simply left with a heartbreaking tale of faithful pilgrims who journeyed in faith but who never arrived at their cherished destination? No, we have a God who keeps promises, a God who sent another pilgrim, the heavenly Son, whose journey of faith led him into the valley of human suffering, into the place where Abraham and all who share his hope were perishing before coming to the end of the road. This pioneer made perfect through suffering (2:10) gathered up Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, and all who trust him, and takes them home to the distant city, saying to God, ‘Here am I and the children you gave me’ (2:13).’”[2]

[1] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2197.

[2] Thomas G. Long, Hebrews, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997), 119.