MEDIA reports of homelessness, as well as the sight of a friend or neighbor struggling to keep a home despite financial reverses, have become familiar to many of us. While I do contribute to various charities aimed at helping people in need, I've found that prayer has made an enormous difference in my own life, including times when I've been in need of housing. And recently, after hearing some news on the subject of housing, I felt a need to remind myself that everyone's real home is actually spiritual a nd that no one can ever lose it.
This is true, the Bible tells us, because we live, not in material bodies, houses, cities, or whatever, but in God, Spirit. In speaking of God's ever-presence, the book of Acts says that He is ``not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being." This particular chapter goes on to say that we are God's offspring. As the children of God, then, we have to be spiritual because God is Spirit. And the basis for our real desires is actually not in material things but in the spiritu al concepts behind them.
In other words, a home may look as though it is a tin shack or an apartment in a skyscraper or a brick house on a hill. But the reality is the spiritual qualities we look for and express in our homes. For example, you might look around your home for the qualities you find there. Among the ones I cherish are peace, light, goodness, intelligence, beauty, strength, love. Our homes can include many other qualities, among them security, order, liveliness, and joy.
These qualities can be expressed in myriad ways in the places we inhabit. I've lived in rented rooms, in small apartments and large, in houses and in cabins. Yet more and more I've come to see that it is the spiritual qualities I bring to the house that make it a home.
While it's natural to become attached to a loved home, Christ Jesus' statement about home is rather thought-provoking. A scribe had come to him and told him he would follow the Master wherever he went. Matthew's Gospel in the Bible says, ``Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." To me this assures us that we can trust God to provide a home wherever we are. This means that instead of clinging to one place, we can trust our prayers to expand our understanding of God and what it means to live in Him. When we do this on a regular basis, it may well have an impact on the domicile we are living in--giving us new ideas about how to make it better meet our needs, for instance. Or it may lead us to a new and better place to establish our home.
But what if we don't really have a house or the place we have is not satisfactory? Then we can trust prayer to guide us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, knew well what it is to be without a home and even to be penniless. Yet in her later years, as she more fully articulated her discovery, she had homes that were beautiful and hospitable. And she says on the very first page of her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Desire is prayer; and no loss can occu r from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds."
Our desire for a place where we can feel safe and secure can be ``moulded and exalted as we understand the qualities--the joy, the beauty, the love--we are actually looking for and are expressing as God's spiritual ideas. This opens our eyes to the potential a human living space may have, even if it doesn't look at all like what we want! The thing that makes the difference is whether we are looking for a home from the standpoint of our life in God or are judging merely by outward material qualities.
I remember vividly a time when I made a terrible mistake by renting an apartment purely on the basis of its material appearance and only later found within the building many severe problems. Despite having little money, I knew I had to get out of that place. As I prayed earnestly, I was led to a building that did not outwardly look as promising, but the apartment I rented there became a very happy home where I felt safe and loved--and my financial needs were met too.
No one can be deprived of a home as he or she recognizes that man actually lives in God. And since we can never be cut off from God, we can feel ``at home wherever we are. By the same token, however, as our understanding of God's goodness and His all-powerful love for man grows, we should also find ourselves living in happier circumstances that express more of the spiritual qualities we are cherishing in our thoughts.We live in God, who is divine Love. And in this ever-loving home, we each find the joy a nd peace we long for.
We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. II Corinthians 5:1