Almost Home

Posted on Tuesday 28 April 2009

In the 10 months that I have lived at my current address, I’ve seen my west-side next door neighbor exactly three times. That’s roughly once every hundred days. The yard is neat. The front porch light comes on each night. I’ve even knocked on the front door a few times with a piece of misplaced mail – but there’s almost never anyone home. We spoke briefly the day after Hurricane Ike, when almost everyone was out of doors assessing damage. And we exchanged greetings once over our backyard fences, a la Home Improvement. One other time I spoke to a fellow mowing the yard, although I couldn’t be sure it was the same one I’d met months before.
If I simply went by how neat the house looks, by the appearance of the surroundings, I’d say the owners are often in residence. But if I was required to verify this by something more than suspicion, well – that would be another story.
Each day I read the headlines in my morning paper, and catch the news online. Banks failing their “stress tests.” Swine flu flirting with pandemic status. Foreign sabers rattling. Domestic stocks plummeting. Whole industries floundering. Unemployment figures climbing.
Then it gets personal. Couples I thought were rock solid are separating. A friend’s mother is dying. Another’s sister is being changed and challenged by an insidious disease that has no cure. Several friends are deeply concerned about their financial futures.
Some mornings I almost feel like looking toward heaven and asking, “Is anybody home?” But to judge whether or not God is in residence by the state of my circumstances would be as unreliable as determining whether or not my neighbors exist by looking at their yard. It’s just no accurate way to tell.
So I rely on what I know for sure. God lives. He is here, and He is not silent. I may be more attuned to my immediate surroundings than I am to His word, His people, or the still small voice of His Spirit, but that myopic focus does not verify His absence. C. S. Lewis once said he believed Christianity as he believed the sun had risen; not because he saw it, but because by it, he saw everything else.
Somebody is most definitely home. The house is not unattended. Even in the half-light of fear and sorrow and uncertainty, someone is home. Always.
Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:16,17, ESV)

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