21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
I am back at college. Fall break was a wonderful time of renewal. Over the break, I was able to connect with old friends, spend time with family, and not worry about always having to be somewhere or do something. I didn’t really want to come back to school, although I mentally felt ready.
On the last night of break, my dad reminded me that college is my mission field. (Thank goodness for dads who are there to give us some perspective.) It’s where I am supposed to be right now. I’ve had eighteen wonderful years to spend with my family, and now I have a new calling. Family was my main purpose for the first part of my life. For the next four years, college is my purpose–the school, the learning, the people, the ministries.
Lately I’ve been feeling what Paul expressed in his letter to the Philippians. Somedays I long for my home in the suburbs. Other days I long for my eternal home in Heaven. But over the past weekend, I came to the realization that home is wherever I am. I make my home where I go. I’ve got a past home. I’ve got a future home. But right now? I belong in my present home. I belong where I am in the moment.
Right now is my calling.
If we thought of home as wherever we are, would that change things? For one, we wouldn’t always be setting our eyes on getting home, because we’re already there. Maybe we’d be a little more comfortable with the here and the now. Maybe we’d learn to rest where we are.
Paul was torn between two choices: He knew that living meant working as Christ did and sharing in His suffering. He also knew that dying meant being free from the troubles of this world and getting to actually live with Christ. But Paul realized that people needed him. God hadn’t called him to Heaven yet; God had called him to ministry on Earth. He needed to be present. As much as he longed for his eternal home, Paul knew that he belonged in his present home, for now.
Wherever you are, God has you there for a reason. You won’t always be there. God is going to call you to other places. Yet as long as you keep seeking His will, you’re home.
– – Phebe