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A home no one can take away from you

From the May 13, 1996 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Consciously abiding in the presence of God—feeling the heavenly peace that comes when you rest your thoughts in His almighty, healing love—is always a source of tangible comfort and help. Even if you feel afraid or abandoned or disenfranchised. Even if—like hundreds of thousands of people from Boston to New Orleans to Moscow to Tokyo to London to South Africa to North Korea to southern China to Germany to the former Yugoslavia—you don't at the moment have a decent place to sleep at night.

Focusing on the spiritual essence of anything you have to accomplish—whether it's rebuilding your life after a devastating loss or finding a home when you're homeless—takes away fear and hopelessness. Why? Because it puts God—and His never-ending capability, His constant care—front and center. And it quiets the trepidations that come when you think that it all depends on you; that there's nothing to keep you from stumbling over personal weaknesses or being crushed by misfortunes.

Something else also happens when you put God center stage. You discover that you're not the beleaguered, abandoned soul you might have thought you were. Instead, you're the glory-bound child of the all-glorious One. You're the spiritual, faultless, cherished "image" of God, of Spirit itself, as the Bible says (Gen. 1:27).

Discovering things like this about yourself amounts to a kind of spiritual homecoming—a coming home to who you really are and what you're really doing in life. A coming home to the Life that's the fountainhead of all the spiritual resources and possibilities and beauties of the universe. This kind of homecoming amounts to finding your specially reserved, eternal niche in what the writers of the Bible used to call the "house of the Lord" (Ps. 23:6).

No doubt about it. The ancient Hebrew and Christian writers thought a lot about this "house of the Lord." Maybe that's because they knew what it meant to be homeless. Through the centuries, the people of Israel were repeatedly dispossessed of their homeland. They saw their houses leveled, their Temple destroyed. They lived as a captive people in foreign lands like Egypt or Babylon or Persia. They lived as an occupied country. And at times, they wandered like nomads in the desert. By A.D. 70, both Jews and Christians had been devastated one final time and cruelly dispersed to the far ends of the Roman Empire.

So, in the face of all this, these people resolved to live in the one place they knew was secure: in God. A psalm-writer put it this way: "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock" (Ps. 27:4, 5).

One of the key themes running through the Bible is this very point: You and I have an eternal home in God, no matter what. A home that's "secret," as the Psalmist said. You can't see it with your eyes or touch it with your hands or walk up and down its hallways with your feet. But, in your heart, this home is solid as "a rock." And it's spacious enough to accommodate every one of God's children, not just adequately but grandly. As Christ Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14:2).

How can I feel so sure of all this when I've never experienced grinding poverty or homelessness? Because in different, but nevertheless very demanding, situations I have felt secure and protected in God's household. And so have millions of others all over the world, all through the centuries.

One of these people is my friend Sylvia. A few years ago, a strange-looking man walked into the downtown store where she works. Immediately he began hassling her for money. She was alone, and the alarm was not working. As the man suddenly disappeared into an adjoining room, she wondered if he was planing to attack her and empty the cash drawer. "I wish I were home," she thought desperately.

Then she stopped short. "I am home!" she told herself silently. "I'm at home, because God is here with me. He's my real home—and I'm safe in His love."

But then she had another thought. What about this man? Wasn't he at home in God's love too? Wasn't he God's child just as much as she was? And weren't the two of them safe together in God's holy household—sheltered from harm in their Father-Mother's care? It all seemed so clear. And she wasn't afraid anymore.

At that moment the man came forward again—but just to nod goodbye. And, as suddenly as he'd arrived, he left.

Each one of us has a special identity that's created and loved—and needed—by God. And God maintains this identity eternally. If He didn't, things might be very different for us. "Without natures particulary defined," Mary Baker Eddy explains, "objects and subjects would be obscure, and creation would be full of nameless offspring,—wanderers from the parent Mind, strangers in a tangled wilderness" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 507).

But that's an impossible scenario. We couldn't lose our identity unless God lost His. (And He couldn't!) We couldn't lose our special place in God's household—our real home—unless God stopped being everywhere. (And He won't!) Learning all this day by day is actually a spiritual adventure. And you end up with a home no one can ever take away from you.

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