House Hunting

The longer I live, the more I believe that a “House” is merely a building, but a “Home” is a “Relationship Sanctuary/Incubator” where life and love get worked out and lived in. Mother Theresa once said, “Home is the starting place of love, hope, and dreams.” Although it can be complicated and challenging at times, buying a house is not nearly as difficult as making a house into a home (even weighing monthly mortgage payments)!

The Bible does affirm that part of the blessed and good life is to live and exist in our own dwelling place. Even in difficult times, like Israel’s exile, God told His people to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce” (Jeremiah 29:5 ESV). God’s greater vision was for His people to dwell in earthly (and spiritual) security: “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” (Isaiah 32:18 ESV). Don’t we all long for a neighborhood, community, nation, and world that is peaceful, secure, quiet, and restful?

As you all know, Cara and I are in the process of seeking to acquire our next house in Maricopa County, Arizona. The hunt so far has been both exciting and wearisome, encouraging and daunting. But we know we will soon arrive in a framed, stucco house in the hot lands of southern Arizona. We are convinced that this next chapter will be a holy journey of growing closer in our relationships with our Children and grandchildren. This house, our “new” house (whatever and wherever it is), will be our template for making a home. And just what are we supposed to do in our homes anyway?

Moses answered that in Deuteronomy 6. Conveying the heart of God, the people were instructed to speak of the Lord, His word, His will, and His ways at home. “5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house, when you are out and about, when you are lying down, and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. 9 Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 CEB).

Our homes are meant to be discipleship centers. Our dwellings are intended to be places of relational discovery and devoted faithfulness to our Lord and His heart and ways. This is not an easy or quick journey, especially for homes where some family members are closed and resistant to God. The truth is, we all like houses that we are attracted to, with special architecture, decor, landscaping features, and regional location. But I have learned that beautiful houses can be places of ugly stories and faltering relationships. Conversely, “ugly houses” can also be places of profound relational aliveness, of spiritual safety, hope, and great joy in living a satisfied and content life.

It is a truth, that Cara and I are “shopping for a house.” But it is more true that we are yearning for a “Home” where we can grow greatly in our relationship with God, with each other, and with our extended family and the new friends God has waiting for us (we don’t want to exclude our old friends as well---come and visit us)! 😊

At the end of the day, every house is only a temporary home; a sojourner’s transitional dwelling, an interim stop on the way to a more permanent dwelling. Jesus once told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 ASV). Knowing that we have an enduring home in the heart of true love is a great promise to cling to. Planet Earth is not always an easy place to live.

Every yearning for home is actually a beacon towards heaven. We learn a thousand times over in this life that this world is not our home and we are strangers and aliens in this place. The author of Hebrews made this point so clear: “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14 NLT).

This last Bible verse makes it so clear to me. We are all house-hunting through life. But there is only one dwelling that will be the perfect home we long to have: “In my Father’s house!” King David said it best: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 ESV).
“What I love most about my home is who I share it with!”
Tad Carpenter,
Designer, illustrator, author of Childrens Books
Pastor David 😊

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