(The following a guest blog by author Kristen Hogrefe. See the “Guest Bloggers” section for more info on Kristen.)
Life sometimes feels like a wheel, and I ask the question, “Haven’t I been here before?” When I was a teen, I thought I’d have everything figured out in my twenties.
Nope. And now, I hold no such illusions for my thirties or thereafter.
Just as so many of you are gearing up to start school and move away to college, I’m starting a new adventure that gives me a fresh perspective on how some of you may feel. I just moved away from my hometown, got a new apartment and am beginning a job as a marketing director and barista for The Hollow. (Yes, coffee and ice cream really do fuel the world or at least make it a livable place.)
After a weekend at my parent’s home, I pulled out of the driveway and suddenly found tears streaming down my face. What on earth!
Homesickness. It’s the emotion we can’t put our fingers on when we’re seeing the familiar disappear in our rear-view mirror and our eyes start to burn.
It’s normal, and in fact, it might just be a good thing.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph. His brothers, jealous of their father’s favoritism toward Joseph, sold him into slavery. At seventeen (Genesis 37:2), he found himself far from home, a slave in a foreign country, without a friend in sight.
Sounds like a death sentence to me. Yet Joseph turned to the one Friend, accessible even from a slave’s chamber and available 24 hours a day. Even though he had no one, he had the One he needed most. The Lord God was with him.
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.” (Genesis 39:2-3, NKJV)
That’s great, you say, but I can’t touch or see God. He doesn’t greet me at the door of my apartment or wrap His arms around me with a warm hug.
No, He does something better. Infinitely better.
- He promises to be with us when others forsake us. (Psalm 27:10)
- He promises to never leave us. (Hebrews 13:5)
- He promises to be a shield for us. (Psalm 3:3)
- He promises to be our refuge, and we can pour out our hearts to Him. (Psalm 62:8)
Do we not know His presence most keenly when we turn to Him in the absence of our comforts? Does not His Word speak most poignantly when we search its pages for comfort and guidance?
A silver lining
Corrie Ten Boom, a concentration camp survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, once said:
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
Could homesickness be a disguised blessing in that it forces us to hold onto the One we should have been clinging to all along?
There’s a song by Carrollton called “Holding on to You,” and the lyrics say, “When I can’t catch my breath and there’s nothing left to hold on to, I’m holding on to you.”
My challenge to you is not to wait until there’s nothing left to hold on to. Reach out to God now, wherever you are, and rest in the assurance He’s always got you, whether you feel it or not.
There’s another disguised blessing from homesickness in that it provides an earthly reminder of an eternal truth: No matter where I am, I’m not really home yet.
One of my favorite quotes is by C. S. Lewis:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
I’m not belittling the loneliness. It’s real. It’s painful.
I’m just saying we have a choice.
Will we waste our time with self-pity and distractions, or will we pursue a deeper relationship with the God who satisfies the longing soul (Psalm 107:9)?
God, satisfy us with Yourself. Be enough, more than enough wherever we are. Help us live in the abundance of your love.
~ Kristen Hogrefe