……They walked after emptiness and became empty. (Jeremiah 2:5b)
Significant times such as birthdays, anniversaries, special holidays and so forth often lead me to ponder and reflect on the weightiness of life. I recently completed another cycle around our sun and added yet another uptick to my age. A time to ponder indeed!
In my last blog I wrote about Weight and Warmth. I would like to expand that just a bit more. In life I am acutely aware of two things; Life is punctuated with amazing, wonderful times and it is also filled with stormy times. In order to navigate the storms, we must have a ballast, a weight; a solidness. If not, like the verse above, we may inadvertently chase after that which is ultimately empty and find ourselves growing empty; and easily tossed about by the storms.
We must have a foundation, something unchanging from which we can draw life, strength and a solid weightiness’ that will keep us safe and stable in tumultuous seasons. A place that we can call HOME.
In his book The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen beautifully paints the picture of HOME and the dangers of leaving HOME:
Leaving home is, then, much more than an historical event bound to time and place. It is a denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God with every part of my being, that God holds me safe in an eternal embrace, that I am indeed carved in the palms of God’s hands and hidden in their shadows. Leaving home means ignoring the truth that God “fashioned me in secret, molded me in the depths of the earth and knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home and must look far and wide to find one.
Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says “You are my beloved, on you my favor rests” – the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice I know that I am at home with God and have nothing to fear. As the beloved of God “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.”……Having “received without charge”, I can “give without charge”. As the beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection and need for affirmation. As the beloved, I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the beloved, I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the beloved, I am free to live and give life…..
Nouwen’s beautiful phrases do well to capture the even-more-beautiful Truth of God. What is that truth? It is that the Eternal One, the maker of the stars, has a heart of love for us that will never change and His covenant with us is unbreakable. There is nothing more solid and weighty than that!