March 17, 2010

March 17: Yearning for home

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By Hannah Eberly, a first-year nursing major from Harrisonburg, Va.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 126 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
Oh how sweet is the sight of home! During the summer of my 10th year of life, I journeyed west with my family for 28 days. From Virginia to Kansas I soaked up the scenery as miles passed beneath the car wheels. My nose wrinkled at the sulfur of Yellowstone and my neck craned back to capture Mount Rushmore. For those days, the attractions, amazement and beauty carried on.

However, at the U-turn signaling a return east, my mind pushed past the scenery and the hours of driving. Impatiently my heart yearned for home, even to the point of 10-year-old whining. With my persuasion bellowing beyond the opinions of my three siblings, my parents sped up the trip and I arrived to Virginia’s grassy rolling hills and sweet wind-whipped air one day early. Before pitching in with my “10-year-old help” of car unloading, I ran through my house greeting each room with a personalized “hello.” Outside I enveloped my dog in a hug of contagious laughter and found myself addressed with slobbery licks.

Multiply my 10-year-old joy a hundred fold, and we barely touch upon the thankfulness of the Israelites returning to Zion after years and years in exile. After living in homesickness, captivity and doubt, God fulfilled the promises to which the Israelites clung.

It is tough to keep a 10-year-old occupied while thousands of miles of asphalt pass by. In our family car there was bickering and laughing and games to keep our mind off of the time spent driving and waiting, even though the promised destination continued to creep closer. My mind needed my parents’ attention, assurance and reminders that the car truly was heading home. Thank goodness our God can provide the same answers – might we just ask for clues, and be bold enough to search for the answers?

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 126 (NRSV)
A Song of Ascents.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

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Comments (8)

  1. Thinking of home is a nice way to begin the day. Thank you for reminding me of a similar trip east with our family of 4 sons.

    Mary K. Mishler March 17, 2010 |
  2. Beautiful images, both in the Psalm and in your meditation. “Home” is one of my favorite words! Thank you for relating your memories to this Psalm.

    Susan Garboden March 17, 2010 |
  3. You described the longings for home very well. I can only imagine the joy and fulfillment the Israelites felt in their return, knowing that God had been faithful to His word and their cries. Keep up the good writing!

    Ruth March 17, 2010 |
  4. My best immagery for returning home was three weeks in Europe, followed by being left at JFK airport by the tour and understandable wory about a teenager alone in NYC). Traviler’s aid was able to get in touch with my parents, tickets were bought, and a flight home alone made. I enjoyed Europe, but home in Indiana was paradise.

    Shawn March 17, 2010 |
  5. Your poignant descriptions brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

    Ruth March 18, 2010 |
  6. Your G’m & Grandpa read with gratitude your picture words and felt the yearning of a ten-yr-old and the Isrealites. Perhaps the joy also describes the ecstacy of our heavenly home arrival!

    Viola P. Stahl March 18, 2010 |
  7. Wow, what a surprise to find your devotion in our inbox! And, with such good imagery stirring memories from long ago. Being separated from “home” is sometimes tough, and I remember wanting so badly to be home while at my first week of summer camp. It was almost too good to be true when I saw my ride home on Saturday morning, but I had also learned a lot in that short time away.

    Matt Trost March 18, 2010 |
  8. Hannah, refreshing words and a good reminder after learning of the downsizing of many positions lost on campus. We must take the long view, a sustainable one. Thanks.

    Lew June 1, 2010 |