The Joy of Being Homeward Bound

After several frustrating re-entrances into our apartment for additional things that we really will not need but for some reason felt compelled to grab, we hopped in our car and began our descent to South Carolina for our familial tour, house to house, of what will seem like 50 Christmas gatherings.  It is fine by us, of course!

As we drove, drawing nearer and nearer home, I began to notice a dramatic change in Jenny’s disposition.  Now, she is usually sunny – no doubt about it!  But in this instance, I could tangibly see her rays getting brighter and brighter – her eyes widening, the corners of her mouth drawing up at the corners, her disposition becoming weightless, her voice a note higher, her excitement arising by the second – we were homeward bound, and the knowledge of it produced in her a tremendous affection of joy. 

This is, to borrow from Bunyan, the biblical affection of the pilgrim’s progress.  As a Christian, from the first moment of new birth, we are always homeward bound!  Day by day, we are progressing down the way of righteousness.  At all times, our heavenly citizenship is before us, around us, in us.  There is that wonderful longing that arises within the soul for that place and its Maker, our God and Father; yes, ascends from the depths of us when we pray, read the Bible, commune with God and His church, etc.  We know that He awaits to receive us in Christ with open arms forever.  And, oh, the glory of Him and the home He is making for us – inexpressible, unspeakable joy!  Joy, I say!  And among many things that God has given us to insure the fullness of our joy here and now, the knowledge of home and that we are at every moment upon the way and sure to get there safely, to be with our Father, the Lamb, the Spirit, and our family, the saints of God; and that there will be great feasting in those days of bliss, celebration and worship, songs and perfected existence, insurmountable revelry, and golden words abounding to the heart; oh, that we know that we are on this path, homeward bound is of the greatest joys in all the universe.

And a bit of practice from what has been written – if it is true, and it is!, that the Christian is at every moment progressing towards the finish line, only to cross it, and rather than being done, enters into eternal glory, a home made by the hands of our God – if this is so – then, the Christian must be the most unceasingly joyful sort of human being, if it is plausible, increasing in joy every day by the knowledge of our increasing nearness to Him and home.  Joy is no veneer put on to cover up real anguish in insincerity.  May it never be!  Joy is the rockish inward disposition of the soul in light of the greatest realities in the universe – which by grace – are yours.  How do the worst of temporal circumstances stand, though they toss you about and ravish your body, – how do they stand – against the soul that knows in the midst of said tossing that God is for you, He is your Father, He is bringing you home, and that on account of Christ and the working of His Spirit, you will inherit it, you will come into it, you will see God – not temporally, but eternally.  Joy, I tell you!  Joy!  This is the might of the working of the Gospel within the soul – unceasing joy! 

Thus, I will retire to some of those golden words and may your soul be encouraged this day, dear brothers and sisters – we are homeward bound!

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” Psalm 4:7;

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” John 15:11;

“But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” John 17:13;

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” Romans 14:17;

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” Philippians 3:20-21;

Note also, “the hope laid up for you in heaven,” Colossians 1:5, and is not Christ in us called, “the hope of glory,” Colossians 1:27.

“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” Hebrews 10:34;

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” 1 Peter 1:8;

Let us then, by the prospect of home, be joyful in God.

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