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I've got your number

I will admit to being homesick on more than one occasion, but nothing hit me quite as hard as that first week of Basic Training when I went into the US Army. Those first seven days away from home were torture to my psyche! I had been to Girl Scout Camp for two weeks and been a little 'lonely' for mom and dad, but somehow it just did not affect me quite like being at Boot Camp! Maybe it was because I knew there was an end to Girl Scout camp, but there was no hope of going home from Boot Camp! Those feelings we have internally when we experience homesickness are almost hard to explain, but there is an intense longing to just be safe again. To be home includes that idea of safety (at least for me) and security - - there is just something about being surrounded by what is familiar that gives us that sense of peace, security, and even a little bit of sanity.

I'm homesick—longing for your salvation; I'm waiting for your word of hope. My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise; how long must I wait for your comfort? There's smoke in my eyes—they burn and water, but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post. How long do I have to put up with all this? How long till you haul my tormentors into court? The arrogant godless try to throw me off track, ignorant as they are of God and his ways. Everything you command is a sure thing, but they harass me with lies. Help! They've pushed and pushed—they never let up—but I haven't relaxed my grip on your counsel. In your great love revive me so I can alertly obey your every word. (Psalm 119:81-88)

Homesick - wanting the safety and security of being comforted by our Lord and Savior - is that a real thing? When we find ourselves in an intense period of waiting, the most difficult place to be for most of us is outside of what we consider to be 'secure' or 'safe'! In those moments, all we really are seeking from God is just one word - - giving us hope and the ability to hold on a little longer until the full deliverance from what we are going through can be fully realized. It was kind of like when I was waiting for that first letter from home while I was in Basic Training. Just one letter is all I needed! Mom couldn't write until I wrote to her, though. She had no idea how to contact me, that I'd made it safe, or that her "wee lassie" was being taken care of. She must have been experiencing some of the same intensity of being apart, even though my thoughts were on how miserable I was and not really on how miserable she probably was, as well. I think we often feel the intensity of our own loss without regard for the intensity of loss God must feel when we are "apart" from him for a while.

Our spirit can get pretty low in those times. We might experience a longing to be near God, but we seem to be experiencing some type of "absence" in the sense of knowing God's comfort. We might be found "crying out", "waiting intently", and "longing" - words expressive of pretty significant "need". Ever been "holding on for dear life"? I think that must be what it means to "not relax our grip on God's counsel". The idea of "holding on" is requiring a whole lot of effort on our part and we oftentimes are feeling the "strain" of the effort of simply 'holding on'. This is the condition many of us might find ourselves in right this very moment. We might have been thrust into circumstances throughout that we did not choose. The challenges have mounted and the walls seem to be closing in. The feelings of "alone-ness" are so intense that we don't seem to see any hope or way out. We have been waiting so long for God to intervene that we just have grown weary in the waiting. We cry out, but the answer just seems to be so far away. In a word, we are "homesick" for God. We haven't experienced the intensity of his love and presence as much as we would like - we are bleary-eyed and feeling alone, not just 'lonely', but alone.

Why do we experience homesickness in the first place? Isn't it because we have experienced the warmth and love of "being at home"? We long for what we know to be possible! Here's the short answer: God never leaves! He is still right here! We just need to re-establish the contact! It wasn't until I wrote to Mom that she could write to me - the feelings of intense "alone-ness" were really resolved when I established the "connection". Maybe this is the week we examine where we are with establishing and maintaining "contact" with the one who cares so deeply for us. In those "contacts" we are renewed, re-energized, and re-vitalized for the challenges that lay ahead. "Dial in"! You won't be sorry you did! Just sayin!

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