Welcome Home

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…(Hebrews 12:1-2)

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

My grandson returned from a military deployment recently. I joined his parents on base for the homecoming celebration, a celebration I will never forget. The military gave us a three-hour arrival window, and we checked in early, not wanting to miss anything. The air vibrated with electric anticipation. Mothers and fathers, siblings and grandparents, girlfriends, wives, and children milled around the large lot designated for our reunion. Photographers accompanied several young moms with new babies to capture those special moments when a Marine would meet his child for the first time.

The sun was warm, “Welcome Home” banners and American flags fluttered in the air spiced with salt water and happiness. It was a seven-month deployment but nine-months since we hugged our Marine, and now the minutes slogged by, agonizingly slow with the weight of military correctness. Everyone’s eyes focused on the road waiting for the first glimpse of the white busses. It was a child who sounded the alert, “Daddy’s HOME!” And with that cry, order dissolved, and the pandemonium of celebration began as the busses disgorged a torrent of Marines, all identical in camouflage and gear but instantly recognizable to the loved ones waiting. My grandson tossed his bag and equipment down and lifted his mother off the ground, hugging her with all his might, and then his dad got the next exuberant hugs. There was laughter and tears and glorious joy. He was HOME!

In replaying this amazing homecoming over in my mind, the words from Hebrews 12 and 1 Corinthians 13 resonate for me in a whole new way. This experience deepens my awareness of the joy that awaits every believer when their temporary “deployment” ends, and they are finally home. While there is no comparison between an earthly homecoming and our heavenly homecoming, I discovered several camouflaged lessons that encourage me today.

Embracing Faith

Only those in charge knew the exact time-frame of my grandson’s deployment. Families received a window for departure and a window for return. Even when we knew the date he would arrive back on base, the exact time was still an approximation. His deployment location and what he would be doing was also known only by those in charge. We just had vague ideas. When, where and what were dim mirrors for those of us left behind. We had to trust the military leadership and their timing to give us the information we needed. These dim mirrors required embracing faith daily.

Our Christian life is similar. God in His sovereign providence and omniscient purpose knows all the details of our earthly deployment. God wrote every day in the Lamb’s Book of Life before we were born, and He alone knows the day and time of our homegoing. Each day we have an opportunity to trust God in deeper ways, depending on His Word and His timing and His leadership to accomplish His purposes and bring us safely home. He sees the big picture clearly. We see through a mirror dimly, so we walk embracing faith day by day.

Encumbrance Fleeing

Each service member receives specific and applicable gear for their deployment mission. Those items determined by the military to be non-essential must remain behind, no matter how essential they may seem to the service member.

God instructs us to leave behind everything that is an encumbrance to running the race He sets before us. Sin, fear, doubt, worry, ambition, and worldly enticements are some of the stones that slow me down. I need the Holy Spirit to help me each day discard everything that entangles me and keeps me from successfully completing my mission. I need to get rid of everything that is non-essential, no matter how much I think I need it.

Enduring Fortitude

Deployment is mission specific. The military has major objectives for each deployment. However, they can never anticipate every eventuality they will face while executing their assignment. Military training is on-going, and the service member must be prepared, not only to face the enemy, not only to accomplish the mission, but also to endure the hardships, difficulties, and delays that will punctuate their deployment.

Training for believers is also on-going as we spend time in God’s Word and prayer, learning surrendered obedience and trusting God to lead us. The Bible instructs us to put on the full armor of God, to be ready to face the fiery darts of the enemy. There are hardships, difficulties, and delays along the way, and we need the enduring fortitude of depending on the Holy Spirit to bring us safely through our earthly assignment.

Enheartening Figures

Throughout my grandson’s deployment, his family and friends and friends of his family continually prayed for him. Packages and letters and even the rare phone call gave him encouragement. He knew we were proud of him; we were rooting him on, and we were anxious for his return. In addition, he developed strong friendships with other Marines, sharing moments with those who knew and understood everything his deployment entailed.

As believers, “a great cloud of witnesses,” surrounds us. Those who have gone before us and completed their race form a heavenly cheering section urging us on. There is hope and encouragement in this awareness. The support from families and friends deployed with us on our journey enable us to continue the race even when putting one foot in front of the other is all we can manage. Together we pick each other up from tumbles, share with understanding the hardships of the race, clear boulders from the path, walk and run with arms linked and eyes on Jesus, the Author and Completer of our faith.

Exultant Finish

I can only imagine the celebration waiting for me, waiting for each of us when we finish our deployment and cross the finish line of our race. All heaven turned out in excited anticipation, “Welcome Home” banners waving, loved ones crowded around Jesus intently scanning the horizon for the first glimpse of that special one, instantly recognizable to them. The shouts and cheers of praise and adoration for the One who opens heaven’s door for us. Tears flowing, embraced in the arms of the Savior, held by His nail-scarred hands, we will look into His eyes and see clearly, we will know and be fully known, and we will finally hear Him say, “You are HOME! Well done, daughter!”  And it is for that glorious anticipated joy that we run with endurance this race He set before us.

  1. What situation in your life do you need to embrace by faith?
  2. What encumbrance do you need to throw off?
  3. What requires your enduring fortitude right now?
  4. How can you be an enheartening figure in someone else’s life today?

Published by thistleplaid

Introductions are always awkward. What words can capture the essence of character and personality? And yet, we all long to know and be known, so let me introduce myself to you. I am an introverted "fun girl" who is passionate about Jesus, family and intimate friendships. I am a wife of 50 years, whose husband now resides in heaven (widow does not define me!). I am a mother of three daughters and three sons-in-love, a Gram to eight grandchildren, and a Great-Granny to one adorable baby girl. With Scottish ancestry, I love all things plaid, bagpipes and thistles. I love tea and books and rainy days; mountains, ocean waves, and sunshine' lavender, Golden Doodles, bagpipes and country music. Most importantly, I am the daughter of the King of Kings, on the journey of being conformed to His image and desperately in need of His mercies every day. My goal with this blog is to meet other women on this journey and encourage them to see and seek Encounters with Mercy and Glimpses of Glory that will challenge and nourish their souls.

One thought on “Welcome Home

  1. Finally caught up. God has definitely given you a gift to write. Just as you wrote in the blog. We will see what journey He is taking you on with this giftedness.

    Like

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