This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue
The Angels beckon me, from Heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
The problem is most of us are lying when we sing this last line. We are very at home in this world, with its hot food at the touch of a button, or its sit back and soak up whatever the networks and friends are pushing on TV for some “me” time. We’re so at home in this modern American world that we’ve forgotten to number our days, and we kid ourselves that we’re gonna live forever, what with all the modern medical technologies we have. So who needs God, or salvation, or any sort of brakes on fulfilling our wants and wishes?
Then you get a call on a Wednesday night when you just sat down at church that says go to the hospital right now, its life or death for your seemingly invincible 16 year old daughter that you just knew would outlive everybody else in the family.
Just about the hardest time I had – and I imagine it ranked right up there for Myra – during our initial hospital stay with Megan was when Megan hooked her IPOD up to a portable speaker, just a day or two after receiving confirmation that she had cancer. At first Dad was tickled to hear country music and even more tickled to know that Mother couldn’t turn it off. But then Megan started flipping through songs until she got to two in particular.
The first being “When I Get to Where I’m Going”, the song that says
When I get to Where I’m going,
the first thing I’m gonna do is spread my wings and fly
and later says…
So much pain and so much darkness in this world we stumble through,
all these questions I can’t answer, so much work to do.
But when I see my Maker’s face, I’ll stand forever in the light of His amazing grace
When I get to Where I’m going.
After finding that song Megan was just as happy as could be, smiling that smile as she worked on a puzzle. Of course, Dad, Mom, and Aunt Carol where about to lose it, and if Megan hadn’t been so cheery, we would have. We certainly couldn’t look at each other and we all reached for tissues, fighting back tears.
Then she found the second song. The one that could have been named the same as the one from our hymnal - “This World is Not My Home” - but in modern country music phraseology is called “This is My Temporary Home”. The song that talks about a patient in the hospital bed, room filled with loved ones, who whispers
Don’t cry for me, I’ll see you all someday…
And then looking up, the patient slowly says…
I can see God’s face.
This is my temporary home. It’s not where I belong.
Windows and doors that I’m just a passing through,
This is just a stop on the way, to Where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is our temporary home.
Well, as you can imagine, Mom, Dad, and Aunt Carol were all crying by then, because we knew, and were being big time reminded how true it was; how temporary life here is, and how not afraid Megan was – she just kept on smiling, and working her puzzle, and listening to the song. We were complete basket cases, sobbing as quietly as possible but sobbing nonetheless. She’s just been diagnosed with cancer, and this is what she wants to listen to, to be reminded of – and she’s still smiling.
It is a matter of life and death. And I’m not talking about the physical cancer that Megan’s fighting, I’m talking about our fight against the spiritual cancer of sin. And having this perspective of Megan’s - that this is our temporary home – makes all the difference in our ability to keep our lives focused on Whom it needs to be focused so we experience life eternal, and not death.
In the parable of the soils (Matt: 13:22), Jesus tells us that the seed that flourished but then got choked off by thorns represents letting the things of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, to entice us so much that we let it grow up all around us until one day too late, it has choked us off spiritually. No more desire for worship, for study, for prayer, for fellowship, for anything other than getting our ticket punched and out the door.
It’s the same spiritual cancer of sin that Hebrews 12:1 says to lay aside because it so easily entangles us and keeps us from running the Christian race, much less finishing it. The same sin that makes this world so comfortable to us in the first place.
My comfortable world is much less so these days, and that’s a good thing. Because it really is easy to forget that this world is where we don’t belong, that it is just a stop along the way. And the fear of eternity that we suppress by telling ourselves that somehow we’ll live forever, we instead can face, and truly not be afraid. Because, just like Megan, we know, this is our temporary home.
In fact, the key to finishing the race in Hebrews 12:2, to laying aside what so easily entangles us, is to do just what the hospital patient said. “I can see God’s face”. Fix our eyes on Jesus so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.
This world is not our home. We are just a passing through. Take a look up.
Matt 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.