I’m often teased — perhaps deservedly so — for my love of Southern gospel music. Worship in my heaven will be led by a men’s quartet, and if it isn’t, no problem — I’ll just bring along my collection of Gaither Homecoming DVDs.
The older I get, the more precious that music becomes. Words I learned in childhood mean much more now. This year, my Gaither Christmas album has me in nonstop tears, though, because I’m homesick. Homesick for family, homesick for my mom’s Chex Mix — and for how my sister and I would race to eat the cashews. But, I’m homesick for even more than Oklahoma. I’m homesick for heaven. More and more, I find myself wanting — longing — to be whole, and with Jesus, and forever home.
My friend’s husband went home three years ago. I told her the other day that every December they’re apart is another December closer to seeing him again. Sounded optimistic enough, but what I meant was, “My heart hurts that you’re apart. Apart is no good! Come, Lord Jesus, so she can be with her husband again.”
All four of Andy’s grandparents are nearing their homecoming, too. After decades of faithfulness to the Lord, it won’t be long until their faith will be sight, and they won’t be homesick anymore. Andy called his grandpa a few days ago, and cried later as he repeated their tender conversation to me.
“We know things don’t look good,” his grandpa had said.
“What a good God we have,” Andy answered, “who turns our worst news — our loss — into gain.”
Maybe I love Southern gospel music so much for its focus on heaven, home, and the hope that does not disappoint. The song “Sweet Beulah Land” has its roots in Isaiah 62. In Hebrew, “Beulah” is “bride,” because, “the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married…. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you…. See, your Savior comes! You will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted” (Isaiah 62:4-5, 12).
In other words, no more Decembers apart! No more loss — just gain. From, “Come, Lord Jesus!” to “See, your Savior comes!” Jesus Christ came to earth so that the Bride can be reunited with her groom. He came, so that we can be forever home!