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Pastor’s Perspective 08-13-19

My son is in a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean as I pen these words. On his way home from 11 months in Afghanistan. At only 5 and 3 years of age, Carson and Caleb have missed their dad’s presence for a significant percentage of their young lives. This is Carson’s second deployment. For the first one, he had one of those cloth soldiers with a button he could push to hear his daddy’s pre-recorded voice. I can vividly remember putting him to bed, lying in the dark with him until he fell asleep and listening to his daddy’s voice over and over. Chase is now six months old. Josh timed his 2-week R&R to be home for his birth. They don’t even know each other yet. And Amber has done what so many Army spouses do every day. Hold down the fort. Function as a single parent of two preschoolers and an infant. Needless to say, I am so happy for all of them as they will be reunited in a matter of hours.

But the one person whose perspective I best understand is my son. I’ve been that deployed husband and father. Multiple times. I know the pride and fulfillment that comes with serving our country in uniform. And I understand what it feels like to miss being home with my family. To not be able to watch my children grow up as they reach various milestones in their lives. To feel guilty for not being there for them. To not be able to share the load my wife is carrying. Just longing to be home. But I also know the incredible feelings of excitement and anticipation on the flight home. I’ll never forget the spontaneous cheer that erupted on board when our plane’s wheels touched down on American soil after Desert Storm. There are very few feelings that can compare to coming home.

I’ve done enough funerals now to witness families deal with separation from their loved ones and how much they cling to the hope that is ours in Christ that they will see them again. It is true that earth just doesn’t have the appeal it once had when our loved ones are no longer here and are waiting for us in God’s presence. Maybe that’s why God’s Word tells us to seek the things that are above. That this earth is not our home. That we have been created for something much greater. God has set eternity in our hearts that we might long for our real home. As great as today’s homecoming will be for my family, it will pale in comparison to the day we all go home… together.

See you Sunday! ~ John