This morning I woke up around 3:30 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. We’re in the process of moving; my brain is full of details when I go to bed at night, and immediately starts up again when I wake up. As I lay there thinking about everything that has to be done over the next two days, the thought occurred, “After tonight, we only have (as my grandkids say) ‘two more sleeps’ in this house!”
I love everything about this home where we’ve lived for almost nine years. The neighborhood, the location, the layout of our house, and especially the relationships we’ve formed with our neighbors. This place is special in so many ways. If you had asked me six months ago if I wanted to sell, the answer would have been an emphatic “no!” I couldn’t imagine a better place and the very thought of letting go of what we have here was intolerable. I would get a sick, unsettled, very sad feeling just thinking about it.
Last night, however, as I realized we were coming to the end of our time here, that wasn’t the case. It’s still bittersweet to leave the people around us, but I have a great sense of anticipation and excitement now, instead of sadness.
What made the difference?
Two things. First, around the beginning of the year, I figuratively opened my hands and gave God our house. I told Him if it was time to sell, then I was willing, but I would have to know without a doubt it was what He wanted. A few weeks later, during my devotional time, He clearly spoke to me, not audibly or even specifically, but by giving me an incredible, unexplainable peace that it was time to sell. I told Todd my decision, and within two weeks, our house was on the market, and in one day, under contract. I am excited about our next steps because I know God led us to this point. I have peace.
Second, I’m excited and full of anticipation because we are under contract with the home we are buying. We have a future home. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like living there. I’ve only met one new neighbor so far, although we know three other friends who moved from our neighborhood as well. It’s far easier to leave one place you love when you have a firm destination in front of you and you know people who have gone that way before. Also, we have lots of good information about the place and have a general idea of what life might hold for us there. My sadness at leaving has been replaced by the excitement and anticipation of going.
We’re just moving a few miles this time, but one day, we’re going to pack up this earthly tent and move a little farther. This is the topic Jesus spent His last evening talking to His disciple about, just before He was betrayed and crucified, and their world was turned upside down.
John 14:1-3 – Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Three times in this chapter Jesus promises His disciples, “I will come to you” (14:3,18,28). He has gone on ahead to get our house ready, and when it’s time, He will come and get us and take us there. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like living there, but we do know quite a few people who have already made the move! We’ve also been given lots of good information about it and have a general idea of what life might hold for us there.
Jesus wanted us to look forward to His Father’s house with anticipation and excitement. He also wants us to have unexplainable peace about the coming move.
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.
That peace Jesus is talking about has its source in the Holy Spirit who comes to abide in us. Jesus promised to come and receive us to Himself when it’s our time to go home, but He also comes to us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He does not leave us as orphans (14:18) but sends the Spirit of truth to be with us forever…now…in this life. Jesus makes His home in us, until we make our last move to His home.
How about you? Are you excited about your “next move” – your eternal destination when your time on earth has ended? Or are you like I was, holding onto what you have right now so tightly that you can’t imagine letting it go? If you’re unsure of where you’re headed, you’re right to be troubled. Talk to Jesus about it. He’s getting the Father’s house ready for all who will dwell there. There’s a room available just for you, paid for in full.