Some days the house just gets to me. Too many unfinished projects, too much clutter, too much to clean.
Life gets to me. When will I ever find the time or the willpower to drop those 20 pounds and feel strong again?
The temptation to despair of life in this body, in this house, arises from thoughts like these. And that’s ok, right? Because I’m supposed to be looking forward to my eternal home. So this hum-glum existence until then is just par for the course. A right of passage, you might say.
Or is it?
After recently wrestling through such thoughts, I’ve come to see that in order to be actually looking forward to our eternal home, we need to learn to be grateful for the home we’re in now. Let me back up a couple weeks to explain…
I stand at the window on a crisp, February morning, staring out through two panes of glass into 30-degree weather.
And I am warm.
This is a good house.
It’s a timely reminder that halts the grumbly thoughts in my head, and I take a deep breath. The knots on my forehead begin to unravel.
As I consider the cold that I am not feeling, I begin to notice how my hands are resting firmly–one on the window sill and the other against the corner of the wall, framing the window. I take a moment to really feel that wall.
It’s sturdy. It’s withstood 70-mile-per-hour winds and little boys ramming into it.
This is a good house.
In the midst of the mess and hustle and bustle of a family that lives, learns, and works at home, and especially ten months into a “five-week” exterior remodeling project, it can be hard to enjoy just being at home.
It can be hard to see the beauty in the home that I’m making when unfinished projects crowd my view. But if I take a moment to sit and observe–not with a critical eye and a running to-do list but rather with eyes enlightened by grace–I begin to see not my work nor my lack of work but gifts of God.
I can wonder at how well we are provided for. Not only by my husband but by the mind-blowing development of things like running water, central heating, and washing machines. And the incredible blessing of dirty little hands, red cheeks and noses, and piles of clothes that signify the beautifully rambunctious lives that fill this place.
There’s another temporary house I’ve been given, and sometimes (many times?) I look at it with the same kind of scrutinizing fix-it-up mentality that I use to greet my dirty linoleum-tile kitchen floor.
My body isn’t as young or strong or capable as it once was. My knees give me trouble, and I’m currently four weeks into a bout with some combination of cold, allergies, bronchitis, and asthma. I’m well enough to function, but I’m not functioning well.
While there’s work to be done for my health and strength (and time required for recovery), I’m finding that there’s also a desperate need to learn to rest–not just physically, but to simply be in this body, just as I have to learn to be in my home, dilapidated as each may seem.
Whatever degradation may come, this body has run races and climbed mountains.
This body has carried, birthed, and nursed two sons–not without complications, but still, it has.
This body has given hugs and held hands.
And it still seems to get me from point A to point B pretty effectively.
It can still kneel prayer, sing in worship, and offer hands to serve.
It’s a good body.
It’s a good gift.
If we are to serve the Lord with gladness there is a real sense in which we need to learn to be at home in our houses and in our bodies. Not in some self-exalting or self-excusing way, but in a very real and contented and Christian way. We need to learn to be at home in our houses and bodies because they are the primary places and primary tools we have for worship and service. And they are gifts that the Lord not only gives but also fills.
He’s not afraid of nor ashamed of broken vessels. In fact, He delights to redeem them.
My house, my body–these are places to be filled with the grace and love and Spirit of Christ. They are not forever, of course. They are a mere shadow of things to come. But as we embrace the “homes” that our Father has graciously given now and by faith see how He transforms and fills them, we are in a better position to truly appreciate and anticipate the Kingdom Home He is preparing for us–a new creation and a resurrected body that are both whole and wholly filled with His presence.
Too often we look with discontentment at our earthly state and say with a grumble, “Well, I’m glad I’ll get a new body and a new home someday.”
But the eyes of faith see the good in God’s gifts both now and in eternity–because the eyes of faith focus more on the goodness of God Himself than on the frailty of our here-and-now. We need not spurn His hand in this life in order to treasure it in the next.
May we have such eyes to see and receive God’s gracious provision–to be at home where He has us now, gladly doing His will until He calls us to that better Home in glory.