“I want to buy your home,” he said. We all knew Smitty well. He had been our neighbor for the 40 years that we lived in that house.
Apparently, it didn’t matter to him that the house and yard needed repair and weeding. He had plans for the property, and he had watched us grow up and move away. He knew that Daddy had died many years ago and that Mother was living with one of my younger brothers. For many years my mother had refused to sell, and I don’t blame her.
There were many memories of that house—memories of failure, faith, and triumph. My parents had financial challenges, but they were able to pay off the house despite that. We still laugh about how we ate Ranch Style Beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the first few weeks after moving in, but who cared? This was our home in glory land. It was the big move from the projects to a house in what my parents considered a safe neighborhood. Our home became a house of refuge in our safe neighborhood, just as it had been when we lived in the projects.
We tell stories about our faithful dog, Brownie. Actually, he was a neighbor’s dog who deserted his owners and took up residence at our home. They tried to stop him, but their efforts didn’t work. They would tie him up, but he would only chew the ropes loose. Brownie was determined to make our home his home.
Ms. Katie, the grandmother of those neighbors, would come to our home, and my mother would fix her meals. Her visits lengthened. After her visits had become more frequent, she showed up with her clothes and stayed.
One day I received a call from Mother. She was finally ready to sell the house.
“Sandra, Smitty still wants to buy our place. What should I do?” After our conversation, Mother sold the lot, paid the taxes, and had a nice sum left.
On my last trip to visit my sister, I walked from her house (about a mile away) to our old home place. All that I could see was the roof of a house surrounded by a tall wooden fence. I turned the corner to get a better look but didn’t recognize the place. Two new houses separated by wooden fencing greeted me.
They probably changed it, I thought, as my eyes searched. I looked up—and that’s when I saw it—our old address, 3515, etched in gold-plated letters above the front door of the first house. Then I saw the willow tree Mother had planted, still standing in the yard, saved from the destroyer’s hand. That willow tree and I had something in common. I turned to leave, pleased with the result of Smitty’s plan.
Memories flooded my mind, and my heart longed for my darling mother, who had died a few days before. I wanted her to see me now and know that her desire for me to write had come to pass.
The more life teaches me, the more I understand why religious people sing songs like “I’ve Got a Home in Glory.” Some are expressing faith in the words of Jesus, who said, “I go to prepare a place for you so that where I am there ye may be also.” Many have reached a stage in life where the trinkets of this world have lost their bewitching power, and their soul-fire desire is the assurance of a heavenly home. God has given them that peace. My mother was such a one.
They are expressing confidence in God’s assurance that they will possess homes that will never need repairing one day. They’ll never again be subject to financial reverses or foreclosures. They’ll have safe homes by and by. The sick and bereaved look upward and forward to Christ’s Second Coming. They confidently sing the promise of eternal body makeovers and glorious family reunions. They sing my song about a place, a home, where I’ll never again be separated from my loved ones.
Jesus watched me grow up, and He kept up with me. No address was ever too difficult for Him to find. But if you’re like me, you’ve known the embarrassment, shame, and despair of having spiritual weeds growing all over your home place. Still, the seeds of faith, planted by my mother, grew like a willow tree deep inside my soul.
Jesus kept telling me, “I will never forget or abandon you. You are mine. I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands” (see Isaiah 49:15, 16). These verses gave me understanding in my difficult places.
When I was ready to sell it, He bought my house. And I told Him in the words of the psalmist, Lord, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67).
Hope for Today
The vision of living forever in a place where love is ever-present and where defeat, failure, and death are forever absent is hope. God’s love will open the door of heaven, and the Master Builder Himself will come to welcome His family home. His glory will light our hearts and everything around us throughout eternity. He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Dear reader, we don’t have to wait for some unknown time in the appointed future. Our homes and lives can be glorious today because of Christ’s presence in them. And that’s because He who hath begun His work in us has promised to finish the building. In fact, He is our clear promise for the future and our clear hope for today.
In memory of my darling mother and dedicated to my sister, Beverlyn.
This article first appeared in Message magazine, December 2006 and is reprinted with permission.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.