September 2, 2007

A Borrowed Home

It's hard to make a "home" out of a borrowed house. Rather, part of a house. I live currently on the basement floor of a three flat house in Chicago. I don't own it, I just rent it. I suppose technically I only rent half of it since I have a roommate.

Altogether it's not a bad place, but it could be better. The fact is it's a basement, so there are quite a few "co-inhabitants" we'd rather not have around; creepy bugs that appear from behind walls, underneath the fridge and- most appalling- out of the drain! We only have three windows, none of which face a sunny direction. The result is a dark, insect harboring, sometimes moldy basement apartment.

But even if it were an amazing apartment in a better part of the city, with sunny rooms and gorgeous above ground views, it wouldn't be mine. Not entirely. Even if I paid the whole sticker price and signed the deed, it still wouldn't belong to me because nothing in this world does.

Psalm 119 says that we are strangers on earth. Psalm 24 reiterates this notion, saying that "the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." That means not only do we not own our homes, but we don't own the land they're on or the feet we stand on that land with. God owns his creation in entirety.

Perhaps that sounds unattractive to you, the idea that someone else owns us all. If you invest in the secular 'captain of your own ship' or 'master of your own destiny' concepts, it follows that you both own and direct yourself. A flattering idea, but it has a difficult outworking; who is responsible when something bad happens to you? You are, either intentionally by sending the signal for something bad to happen, or implicitly by not asking enough times for good things, or with enough intensity.

The truth is we don't want to answer to anyone for fear this means the 'good life' we have in mind for ourselves might be restricted by who we're asking to provide it.

Let's go back to Psalm 24 and the idea of God's ownership. It is through our being God's possession that He promises blessing and righteousness to us (verses 4,5). It is only those who seek Him, who aim to be pure as He desires who "ascend into the hill of the Lord" (verse 3). When we pledge unto our Lord, acknowledging and accepting His ownership of and dominion over us, He promises to bestow on us blessing. When we "lift up [our] heads" and our doors are opened to our God, the King of Glory will come in (verse 7).

Thus, if we deny being subject to Our Lord, He owes us nothing in return. Think of the richness of being surrounded by God's blessing! It would be brighter, more magnificent than any earthly dwelling could provide. Bathed in the Lord's light, that is where I want to live.

"The Father's house has many a dwelling,
And there will be a place for thee.
With perfect love His heart is welling
Who loved thee from eternity.

His precious blood the Lamb hath given
That thou might'st share the joys of heaven,
And now He calleth far and near:
'Ye weary souls, cease your repining,
Come while for you My light is shining;
Come, sweetest rest awaits you here!' "

"A Rest Remaineth for the Weary,"
by Johann S. Kunth, 1730

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