DURING World War II my father wrote home daily from the African desert where he was stationed. In the midst of the war with its gunfire and bombing, he always found time to appreciate and describe the beautiful sunsets of that region. And usually he would conclude his remarks with, ``Those sunsets make me so homesick.'' Sunsets did that to him. The setting of the sun meant that he should be heading home to his loved ones.
Homesickness includes a deep longing to be where there's love and appreciation. Who doesn't want that? For many, however, such love seems unattainable or at best tenuous.
I was about to be engulfed by a wave of homesickness a number of years ago. My husband, children, and I were flying to an overseas assignment. We were to be gone for several years, and I had to leave my parents. Deep down I eagerly awaited this new experience, but my parents and I were so close I didn't look forward to saying goodbye. In fact, I really dreaded the moment.
The night before our departure, I turned to God for comfort and guidance. I found these words of Christ Jesus in the Bible: ``In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.''1 Here was reassurance. I would always be in my Father's house. In a very profound sense, only God's love and goodness were awaiting us.
I thought of these words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.''2 I might be a pilgrim on earth, but my true home was in heaven, in the consciousness of His harmony and love. Wherever I was, I was God's guest. All of us are, because God is All and is everywhere. Whatever we may need in the way of companionship, love, joy, fidelity, encouragement, and supply is, in a sense, already ours, because we're never really separated from our creator or from His provision. The source of all good is God, our always available, limitless, impartial Father, and we can prove this, even if in small ways at first.
I glimpsed then how much more is included in God's scheme of things than we are ready to see. This would be my opportunity to see wider spiritual vistas as I relied wholly on God and followed His direction.
The next day I was able to leave, and I went on to enjoy the adventures waiting for me. Letters from my parents showed that they also had been released from a painful personal longing. It was so clear we were all sharing in God's universal goodness.
I can't imagine Jesus ever being homesick. Wasn't his home wherever God sent him, whether it was a publican's house, a boat, or the desert? His higher view of family was described when he said, ``Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.''3
Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy defines heaven as ``harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul.''4 There is no mention of locality in this definition. There is only the concept of God's spiritual government and its harmony. We feel this atmosphere, become conscious of it, as we turn humbly to God and let ourselves be governed by His wisdom and love; as we let go the materialistic elements of thought that would blind us to His presence and care -- the fear, selfishness, resentment, and so forth that are no part of heaven or of our true selfhood.
God is our closest relation, because He alone is our creator, and this relationship exists through eternity. Our supernal Father, so infinitely wise and loving, cherishes His creation continuously. Our spiritual selfhood, our real individuality, is anchored securely in His love, unchanged and unaffected by time and place. Through humbly turning to Him in prayer, opening our thought to His will and wisdom, we can prove what's spiritually true wherever we are and feel a celestial peace.
1John 14:2. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 254. 3Matthew 12:50. 4Science and Health, p. 587.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: In him we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28