home-sick: (adjective) unhappy or sad at being away from home and family; yearning for home.
It’s very normal for us humans to be homesick from time to time during our mortal life-journey here on planet earth. Maybe you’ve been homesick for the farm you grew up on. Or for the tree house where you and your friends used to play when you were a child. Or, for your grandparents’ barn where you used to frolic in the hay with your friends on lazy summer days. Or for the corner ice cream shop where your parents took you on hot summer nights when you were a child. Yes, at one time or another we all get homesick for some memorable place or time in our past. I have those homesick feelings from time to time, especially to be back with my grandparents who helped raise me when often I would spend wonder-full summers with them as a child.
Homesick For A City
But what I’m most often homesick for is a city and country I’ve never seen and to which I’ve never been! In fact, I wrote about that city in the October 2009 issue of The Traveler and you can also read about it on our ministry website in one of my teachings entitled City of Mystery. Yes, I often get extremely homesick for somewhere I’ve never been. And for a Person I’ve never seen. How weird is that…? What city and Person am I homesick for? It’s going to take me a couple of pages to answer that question, but I’m going to try. They’re in a far country. I know you’ve been homesick for that same city and Person at one time or another, too, but maybe you just haven’t realized they’re what you’ve been homesick for.
One of my favorite songs is about that city; the name of the song is Beulah Land. The first verse goes like this:
“I’m kind of homesick for a city
to which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken,
For time won’t matter any more.”
Note: If you’re interested in viewing and listening to my favorite rendering of that song, go to YouTube.com and type in “Christian Song: Beulah Land sung by John Starnes.” John’s rendition of the song is the most poignant and heartfelt of many artists you can view singing Beulah Land on YouTube. Yes, the land I’m homesick for is named Beulah. None of us have ever been there…yet. In the state of Wyoming just a few miles west of where we live there’s a small town named Beulah with a population of only a few hundred, but that’s not the city and far country I’m writing about. And…many years ago in our nation—during our Civil War—many parents named their new-born baby girls Beulah; it was a very popular name in that era. Not many girls are named Beulah now, however. I think the name has a nice sound to it, but what I think is beside the point.
From the Bible
The word “Beulah” is a Hebrew word in the Bible. As far as I know, it appears in only one place there—in Isaiah 62: 4 in the Old Testament. In context, it appears in a prophetic passage about how in the future—when Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on earth—the Israelis—God’s ancient, chosen people—will be forever restored to their promised homeland in the Middle East, never to be “evicted” again. What does the word Beulah mean in the Hebrew language in which Isaiah was written? It means marriage. God will one day “remarry” the Israelis (whom He previously “divorced”) and permanently re-settle them in the land of Beulah (Israel).
A Beautiful Bride
But the word Beulah carries even more meaning than God simply remarrying his ancient “bride,” the Israelis, in the future upon Jesus’ return to earth. The Bible also teaches that when Jesus returns He will also “marry” the church, consisting of all humans everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus lives in his “unbodied form” of the Holy Spirit. No, God is not a bigamist. In some mysterious manner which none of us yet understands, at some time in the future all Israelis and the Church will be melded into one entity called the Bride of Jesus. You can read about that in Ephesians 5: 25 – 27 and in Revelation 21: 1 – 9. It’s not very clear to me (or to anyone else, for that matter) how Jesus will marry a Bride which is also a city called New Jerusalem; the city is a bride and the bride is a city.
Another Reference To That City and Homeland
Just this morning I was re-reading the New Testament Book of Hebrews and read some things in chapter 11 that have never “registered” with me quite as strongly before I began writing this issue of the Traveler. Chapter 11 is all about faith. There, Jesus-believers are called “sojourners and pilgrims” on the earth, seeking our “homeland,” our “heavenly country,” our “city” which God has prepared for us. And we will reach that city and far country only by faith alone.
We haven’t been there before, but we know they’re there—and they tug us forward into our bright futures. Oh, they’re very real, but we can’t yet see them…except by our “inner eyes” of faith. What is faith? It’s the confidence we have in our hope. It is the evidence of things we cannot perceive by our 5 senses alone, but which we can “see” and believe by our faith-sense. Yes, I can see that shining city by faith and I believe I shall someday reach that verdant homeland beyond this life’s mortal journey… out beyond the far shores of time.
My Main Point
But that’s not the main point of this issue of The Traveler. My main point is how we are sometimes homesick for our marriage to Jesus, homesick for that city and eternal homeland to which we’ve never been. If you’re a Jesus-believer, I know you’ve felt that homesickness, that tugging at your heart. It happens to all of us from time to time. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Eternity In Our Hearts
The Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible clearly teaches that God has put eternity in the heart of every human ever born. That’s found in chapter 3, verse 11. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked. It would help my answer to that question if you would first go to our ministry website and read two of my teachings there: Beyond The Far Shores of Time and Eternal LIFE, but I know many of you won’t do that so I’ll try to summarize here what those teachings are about. God lives in a limitless state of being called eternity. God is in eternity; eternity is in God. God dwells at the precise center of eternity—of which there is no circumference.
Eternal LIFE is a “portion” of God’s very own uncreated, self-existent, indestructible, undiminishable, incorruptible, inexhaustible, imperishable, measureless, boundless, limitless, abundant LIFE God freely implants within people when they receive Jesus into their lives in his unbodied other form of the Holy Spirit. Even if people have not yet received God’s eternal LIFE by inviting Jesus into their life, there is still a fragment, a portion, of eternity that God implants within every human at the moment of their conception. It’s that fragment of eternity inside every human being ever born that causes us to be homesick for God, for that city, for that far country, for Jesus—many times without even knowing that’s what we’re homesick for. That homesickness surges up within us from time to time because we are eternal beings created by God…for God, and every human being experiences that homesickness until…well, until they return to God and to the “home” God has created for them in eternity. That homesickness for eternity often feels like loneliness, like yearning for something or someone we don’t even know. It’s a longing to return “home” without even knowing where home is or what it’s like.
And every person ever born on planet earth feels that indescribable yearning, that inexplicable tugging, that longing, that deep loneliness at various times. Yes, God has placed a portion of eternity in every human ever born, and we find ourselves restless with unspeakable yearnings for that “place” in God to which we shall go at the end of the long eons of time. Our eternal home is a “place” located beyond the far shores of time. One of the reasons human beings constantly try to fill their lives with pleasure, with things, with money, with “stuff,” with human relationships…is because they are seeking to fill the emptiness in their lives caused by their deep longings for that city to which they’ve never been. They instinctively know there’s something out there somewhere they feel they can attain or reach if they can just cram their lives with enough stuff. But none of that stuff satisfies the deep longings in the human heart for our eternal home. Atheists unknowingly yearn for that home-city. So do agnostics. And Jesus-believers. And Hindus. And Buddhists. And Muslims. Everyone does. That’s how God created us…with eternity in our hearts.
Mark Buchanan has written a book about those constant yearnings we all have—longings for Things Unseen, the title of his book. Mark writes that this homesickness we all have is “a perpetual experience of missing something,” where everything here on earth always “falls short of some hoped-for ideal.” This world cannot satisfy; it is not enough. Only Eternity can fill the void we often feel in moments when we are alone and wondering what’s out there beyond death, beyond the eons of time. Much human activity is in some manner a seeking for something that we can’t find here in this life on planet earth. Whatever we’re looking for just can’t be found here. What we’re looking for is in a city in a far country named Eternity.
When we finally arrive in that city, there will be a wedding ceremony for Jesus and his Bride…and then the feasting and dancing will begin at the Wedding Reception of Jesus and his Bride! Picture a boisterous Italian or Jewish wedding—a real hullabaloo!—where the rugs are rolled up and the furniture is pushed back and the music is loud. There will be dancing and feasting and drinking. It will be a lavish banquet and party such as none of us has ever experienced during this life. As the poet Yates put it: “And the people came together and the people came to dance and they danced like a wave upon the sea.” That will be the Marriage Supper of the Jesus and his Bride. (Revelation 19 – 22) It won’t be a quiet, staid religious reception in a church hall… We’re all invited!
One one occasion, the 19th century writer, George MacDonald, wrote about this to his dying daughter: “I do live expecting great things in the life that is ripening for me and all mine, when we shall have all the universe for our own, and be good merry helpful children in the great house of our Father. Then, darling, you and I and all will have the grand liberty wherewith Jesus makes free, opening his hand to send us out like white doves to range the universe.”
The Spirit and the Bride invite all of us: ‘Come [to the wedding and the banquet to follow]!’” –Revelation 22: 17
To think about this month:
“Jesus is always inviting every person ever born to Himself. He stands at the door of each of our lives and knocks. He shouts: ‘Open the door. Let me come in. And then let the party begin!’”
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Revised and updated January 2019