SCRIPTURE SEEDS | HEAVENLY HOMELAND
I am and always will be a Kansas girl. Yes I only lived there for my first two years, but I grew up visiting grandparents (and have been daydreaming about the fields of wheat and sunflowers ever since!) There’s something about the places we come from — they have of way of leaving its mark on us whether we still live there or not. Sunflowers have stayed with me in every season and every place I’ve lived since. These sunshiney yellow blooms stand as tall markers of the Lord’s faithfulness to me. Anytime I see them, I’m reminded that He is my light and source of life. No matter where I’m from or where I’m going, He is my home. Sunflowers have a way of bringing that sense of comfort and warmth.
When I read Hebrews 12, I see sunflowers lining the road on my run with the Lord.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
I recently discovered Ukraine’s national flower is the sunflower — and in some small way I can relate to these people’s heart for these blooms. But I cannot imagine what they must be going through today. I started thinking about how much weight we place in home — whether in structure or location. Typically when meeting someone new, one of the first questions we find ourselves asking to find common ground is this: “Where are you from?” It is absolutely engrained into our nature. But what happens when every sense of home suddenly changes or perhaps is abruptly taken away? It’s hard to fathom walking these days without faith.
If we go back one chapter to Hebrews 11, we read about people with bold faith walking through great difficulty. But we’re assured from the very first verse — “faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1 TPT) This passage goes on to list many examples of faithful people from Abel and Noah to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham especially stands out to me. Verse 8 says, “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave his home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (NLT) He went without knowing where he was going. I’m the girl who loves a plan. Can you imagine the questions and the feelings of being totally disoriented without any details? It’s as if God is saying — Hey, it’s time to leave and I’ll tell you the rest later. Despite the lacking details, Abraham trusted God’s abundant provision and went anyway. I wonder when we are placed somewhere new, or in some situation we aren’t familiar with, do we seek His voice for direction more than in circumstances where we find the most familiarity? I can’t help but think so. In following step by step without a full map ahead, I find myself seeking after His every word to grow my faith with all that is still unseen.
“Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:14-16
Are you seeking after a heavenly homeland today? It’s so easy to get caught up in the life we can see. What if we shifted our perspectives to the eternal — including what is unseen?
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
So how can we seek this heavenly homeland here and now in the midst of our own struggles? By seeking the Lord in faith despite our weakness. “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” Hebrews 11:33-34 And this seeking is not a wild goose chase of trying to find that old favorite pair of shoes buried somewhere in the back of your closet, never to be found. The Lord promises that if we look for Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him. "I will be found by you,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13) What a precious comfort in our seeking. He’s not playing a game of hide and seek. When we look to Him, we realize He has been with us all along. Those who look to Him are free from fear and radiant with joy — yes, even then in the hardest days (Psalms 34:4-5).
How to we keep going when things get tough? By releasing our burdens at Jesus’ feet and fixing your eyes on Him, the author, pioneer, and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). He gives us perseverance — the very endurance we need to keep going — even when we can’t see what’s around the next bend. We can trust the Author because He endured pain and suffering on our behalf. He knows how we feel because He’s been there. He meets us wherever we are today and draws us near so we may be where He is.
Even in hard times, we are not a people without hope. No matter where we are today, we know there’s more than enough room in our Father’s house (John 14:2). Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us there — our heavenly homeland with Him eternally. And I’d like to think there’ll be sunflower lined-roads there too. May it be so.