Ever been homesick? People may grin, chuckle a bit, and give one another that “raised eyebrow look” at the idea of being homesick… but being “homesick” is real! For several years I served as dean of students at a university and every semester I had a few students that were actually “ill” with “homesickness!” Call it whatever you want to… heightened nostalgia, relational dependence or deprivation (I am sure my counsellor friends have a technical name for it) but being “homesick” is real!
I think there is a sense in which some form of “homesickness” is what King David might have experienced alone in the wildness of Judah, when he was deprived of the presence of God he sensed when he went to God’s house. Here is what he said about in in Psalm 63…
“O God, you are my God! I long for you! My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, as in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Yes, in the sanctuary I have seen you, and witnessed your power and splendor! Because experiencing your loyal love is better than life itself, my lips will praise you! For this reason I will praise you while I live! In your name I will lift up my hands! As if with choice meat you satisfy my soul! My mouth joyfully praises you, whenever I remember you on my bed, and think about you during the nighttime hours. For you are my deliverer; under your wings I rejoice. My soul pursues you! Your right hand upholds me” (Traditional title: A psalm of David, written when he was in the Judean wilderness.)
Anyone who has ever experienced and known the wonderful presence of God in their life, and then gone through a dry spell (either because of spiritual drift, sin, or just “a season” in their spiritual journey) will identify with David’s expression of “spiritual homesickness!” My advice? If sin has caused you to feel the loss of His presence, acknowledge it to Him and ask for His forgiveness. If it spiritual drift, and you, like the prodigal, feel like you’re in a distant land gnawing on the empty, dirty husks of this world, why not humble yourself, head “home” and ask the “Heavenly Father” to receive you back (He will, you know)! And if it’s just “a season” that we sometimes go through as “spiritual pilgrims,” my advice is to press through it and make the words of this Psalm your personal, passionate expression to a Living God, whose “steadfast love” is incredible and real!