As you well know (and we greatly appreciate your prayers for us!), we are in the process of searching for a new house in the area. We thought we had found one, but the inspection disclosed some major areas of concern. So we are back looking. Not having a place to call your own is unsettling, which has made me think about houses and homes. Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “Home is where the heart is” – or the poem by J. H. Payne, “Mid pleasures and pal-aces though we may roam, Be it ever so hum-ble, there’s no place like home.” Both of these ex-press the truth that our homes are more than a house, that it takes more than a house to make a home. The reality is, God created us for relation-ship with Himself and with others; and when we don’t have that we are profoundly unsettled, no matter how ornate or plush our apartment or house. It’s a question of our hearts – if they are full of love for God and others, then the external circumstances – whether we live in a hut or a hotel penthouse – will not be all that important.
It’s a question of our hearts – if they are full of love for God and others, then the external circumstances – whether we live in a hut or a hotel penthouse – will not be all that important.
This highlights one of the unique joys of Christi-anity: because we love Jesus and believe in Him, we have the assurance of an eternal home in heaven with Christ (Jn. 14:1-3). We know that we are just “passing through,” that we are “in the world, but not of it” (Jn. 17:11 & 16). We should not feel totally at home here, instead, we should have a sense that we are strangers and pilgrims. The question, then, is this: On what is my (and your) heart set? I can certainly testify that I want to be with my fam-ily, and am very un-happy when I’m apart from them! And that is as it should be. Do I feel that same piercing sense of absence from my Lord and Savior? This is one of the important implica-tions of believing in the resurrection and ascen-sion – that one day we will be with Jesus face to face, with resurrection bodies ourselves. Do I long for that day? Is there an eager anticipa-tion and expectation? Am I more and more get-ting ready for that day? I hope and pray that both you and I are ready and praying for that day of Christ’s return or our being taken into His presence. (Come quickly, Lord Jesus!)
This is one of the blessed comforts that the twin doctrines of the bodily resurrection and ascension bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus give us. We have the sure hope of our own body and soul being reunited at the last day (see WCF 32.2; WLC 87; HC 57), that is, we are comforted as we look to the future. And we have a comfort as we live in the presence, because our Lord and Savior is “seated at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty” (The Apostles’ Creed; Heb. 1:3).
As we think about the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension, may I recommend two books that would be very edifying? The first is a new book on the resurrection entitled Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life by Sam Allberry. The second, by Derek Thomas, is Taken Up to Heaven: The Ascension of Christ. These two doctrines deserve more attention from us than solely on Easter Sunday (the resurrection) and when we recite the Apostles’ Creed (“He ascended into heaven”). By God’s grace, I pray that our lives and worship might be deepened as we learn and love our Glorious Savior.