Sometimes You Just Need to Go Home


The plaque on the "Alice und Jerald D. Johnson Haus" in Frankfurt. 

Scripture:

Psa. 127:0   A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Observation:

This, one of the Psalms of ascents, becomes a reminder that God’s people are supposed to rest in the LORD. The word house may mean a building, or it could mean a family or household. Whichever it is, this seems to suggest that we are to learn to leave the worry to God and life a restful life. This does not mean that one doesn’t work, but it does mean that we are not be restless. Vs 1-2 seem to suggest ‘Leave it all to God; let go and let God,’ and enjoy a restful life. In the Bible, the opposite of rest is not work but restlessness. We are not to live anxious lives, but to do God’s work, and then find peace and restful sleep. 

Application:

Today happens to be my birthday, and it’s not just by chance that I’m in Germany. I talked it over with my husband, and I made a plan to be in Frankfurt today. Why? Because, for some reason, I just felt like I needed to come home. Ever since my mother passed away I have had the sense that I have lost one of the anchors in my life. As a third culture kid, I felt like home was wherever my mother was, and now, she’s gone. So, what do you do? You pack your bags and you go back home, to that place where you have the warm memories from your childhood — and your mom and dad. 

We arrived here in Germany on Saturday and the last couple of days have been filled with conversations and visits with good friends. These are people who have known me since I was a little girl. We have watched one another grow up and now, we relish the moments with the great patriarchs and matriarchs who have encouraged us throughout our lives. Sunday was a lovely time of worshiping the Lord together at the Gelnhausen Church of the Nazarene. The evening was spent having dinner with dear friends. 

Today we traveled into Frankfurt and visited with more friends.Then, we took off to visit some of my favorite sites in the city.  Sometimes it’s the little things that you want to see. We drove by my elementary school and past the old neighborhoods where we used to play. I marveled at the fact that, from a young age, we used to walk a couple miles a day in this big city. What mother would allow their child to do that today?! We drove down the street and saw the church where I first heard about Jesus. This is where I used to go to the altar over and over again under the conviction of my father’s preaching. I wanted so badly to be a good girl! 

Behind the church, the old parsonage is gone. It was recently torn down but a beautiful apartment building now stands in its place. On the building is a lovely sign, “Alice und Jerald D. Johnson Haus.” I wept. I had made my way home and I was overwhelmed with emotion to see the name of my parents on the building. Next to this sign was an inscription with Psalm 127:1-2, the words my father sent for the dedication of the building. It’s a great reminder that we need to trust in the Lord and allow Him to build our house, and our households and to love and care for the cities in which we find ourselves. 

My parents’ love for the city and people of Frankfurt and all of Germany was palpable and it spilled over into the hearts and lives of their children. (All three of us will make our way here this summer) It was fitting that on this day, my first birthday without my mom, I could come home. But even more fitting, to be reminded that my parents really understood it was God who led the way home. God did build the house, and the household, and paved the way for me to find my way home spiritually to God’s kingdom. 

Sometimes you just need to go back home to be reminded of God’s love and faithfulness. Tonight, I am grateful. 

Prayer:

Thank you for your great love and the gift of rest in you. 

Comments

  1. A beautiful testimony of the activity of God in and through your family. Your reflection resonates deeply for me in this current season. God can be trusted to lead us - wherever “home” may be.

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  2. Happy Birthday! A beautiful story of going back home. What an honor to have a building named after your parents and also the verse. The longevity of a Missionary has value. Many blessings!

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