A Place to Belong
John and I spent the first five months of our courtship on separate continents. We communicated by email on the weekends and staticky phone calls once a month. That was sixteen years ago, back in the Dark Ages before voice texts were invented. But despite limited and archaic communication, our relationship deepened until long-distance connection no longer satisfied us. We wanted to be together. To communicate through a look, a laugh, or even in silence. At last, we discovered being together was all we hoped it would be. Three months after I flew back to the States, I stood in front of a church beside the one who wanted me to be with him, and we were married.
Our story isn’t unlike the offering Jesus made to his friends: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Jesus’ desire for us to be in his presence doesn’t start only after we are safely in heaven. He said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Again, when Jesus prayed for us in John 17, he mentioned this togetherness: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.”
In Revelation 21, ephemeral shadows are rolled far enough away for us to see a glimpse of the eternal, enough for us to see into heaven and know that this goal of permanent togetherness will be realized: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
A missionary’s message, simplified, is 1 John 1:5-6: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
In other words, find sweetness in your relationship with the One who is looking forward to spending eternity with you. Spend time with him today. Then, out of your own comfortable relationship with the Father, confidently call others into this fellowship. Come, and find your place beside the One who wants to be with you.