Our seven-year-old grandbean watched her littlest sister, only weeks old, snuggling into her mother. Issuing mews of contentment.
“Mama,” Butterfly said suddenly. “We all say there’s no place like home. But I think Lois is saying, ‘there’s no place like Mama. There’s no place like Mama. No place like Mama.’”
Even she knows: No sweet spot evokes a sense of warmth and security as much as the place that connects us most deeply with the people we love the most.
“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy said that, in The Wizard of Oz. Shutting her eyes, she clicked her red heels together, and with heartfelt passion, declared, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, no place like home.”
Moses said it too. “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations,” the mild and mighty leader of the homeless, wandering Israelites prayed. No place like home.
King David said it often. As a youthful shepherd in charge of his father’s sheep, he learned to love and lean on the God of his Hebrew fathers. As an embattled king, threatened for years by would-be assassins, surrounded by the heat and clamour of battle, he calls his Divine Companion his secure dwelling place, his refuge and strength. No place like home.
Later, when conquered by the enemy within, David fled in shame to his spiritual home. To the God who hated his deliberate sins of adultery and murder, but loved him with a Creator’s passion. Even then, he understood that Almighty God was not only his judge, but the hope and home of his wandering heart. No place like home.
Jesus’ disciples said it too. The book of John records a telling conversation. One day, after several followers abandoned him, Jesus turned to the devoted dozen. “Will you leave me too?” he asked.
Their response is typical of those who know well the embrace of the heart’s homeplace — and the hollowness of any substitute. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” Home. Home.
Even for poor wayfarin’ strangers, for shepherd boys, kings and deliberate wanderers from high places, there’s no place like that home. Jesus, eternal life and internal joy.
A heart at peace, regardless of surrounding strife? That speaks home to me.
I’ve noticed something over my years of following Christ. When I don’t tune my heart to his, though I’m geographically at home and physically comfortable, I have neither peace nor joy. Spilling out my sin, embracing his forgiveness, renewing our relationship — that brings peace galloping back. Jumpstarts joy again. Suddenly, no matter where I am, I’m home. Echoing Dorothy. Moses. David. The disciples.
“There’s no place like home. No place like home. No place like home.”
Need a refuge? Feeling peace-less? Joyless? There’s no place like Jesus. And all are welcome.