For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (Philippians 3:20)
It seems the last child to leave home signals our last chance for success as parents. They are old enough to make their own decisions. Sometimes, unexpectedly, they will ask our opinion before making a choice. More often than not, they will forge ahead making a combination of good and bad choices. We live at a distance and observe what we can. Living on another continent makes observation a little more difficult.
We went through three departures, but there was always someone still at home. Then came the fourth, Evan, the last fledgling to leave the Chick nest. That last year of High School was filled with special events, new experiences, and growth for our youngest son. There were days we wondered if we would make it to the end, other days we knew it would be spectacular.
At graduation the end was near. He was class president. He earned the highest spiritual award for the school. Applause, smiles, and camera flashes filled the evening along with celebration and food. Three days later we were on a plane to the USA. Evan was on a journey to another world, another life, a foreign land.
At graduation one of the American teachers gave Evan a present. He smiled, said thank you, then studied the paper in his hands. A couple minutes later he was showing it to me, eyes wide with curiosity.
“What’s this dad?”
“A check?” I replied.
“What do I do with it?” he asked. He didn’t know. He had never seen a check. They don’t use checks in Europe, just debit cards and cash. He knew it represented money because of the dollar sign next to the numbers. I chuckled.
“Give it to me,” I said. “We’ll take care of this in the US. I’ll show you how to use it, and a lot of other stuff when we get there.” He said thanks, left the check in my hand and bounded off to be with his fellow graduates, and friends.
I looked at the check. A gift of love from one of his teachers. It symbolized the many aspects of his homeland he didn’t understand. It was his homeland, but, he had never lived there. This was going to be a great adventure. I wondered if we taught him right while he was growing up. That’s a question that will be answered in the years ahead.
As I tucked the check away in my wallet, I was reminded of Heaven. This earth is not our home. We long for a heavenly home, an eternal home. We can read about Heaven, all the neat things John describes, the mansions Jesus talked about. Then we scratch our heads and hold out our hands to God asking, “What is this dad?” We’ve never lived there but we look forward to arriving on its shores one day.
The imagery is spectacular and confusing. We’ve imagined it, troubled ourselves over the descriptions and made it what we imagined. But the reality, when we finally arrive, will far outshine our meager mental picture. Still, this side of our flight to eternity we have questions.
We turn to God and ask, “What’s this Father?”
“It’s my love and grace.”He replies.
“On the cross?”we ask.
“Yes, my son.” He replies.
That one word suddenly becomes clear and we ask, “Son? I’m part of the heavenly family?”
“Yes, I have adopted you. Everything I have is yours.” God smiles, tucks away our questions and waits.
Since Evan setup his little apartment he has learned many things about his homeland. He calls us regularly to ask questions ranging from cooking instructions to government regulations. Its nice to know we’re still needed. It won’t last forever.
As a Christian I approach the Father with my questions. How do I do this? What’s that? And sometimes I apply what I learned earlier to a new situation. Sometimes I get it right, other times, wrong. God likes to hear from us. Its nice to know He is needed.
Sometimes I forget God is there, waiting, ready to answer my questions, ready to give me guidance, ready to prepare me for my eternal mansion. I think of my son. He didn’t know about where he was going. He hadn’t been there, but I had.
God knows where we are going. He knows the streets, the mansions, the wonders we anticipate with awe. We just need to take the time and ask, “What is this Father?” and know we’ll receive a perfect answer.