You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. –Augustine, Confessions
What is it you miss? What are you homesick for? When you wake up and it’s dark, what is the echo saying, what did your heart just call for right before you woke—the thing you want so bad you are afraid to speak its name out loud? When the other noises pause, you sometimes catch the echo of your longing, and it terrifies you: home, it cries, hunger, loneliness, a place to stay with no pretending.
You are afraid to listen even to the promise; what if there is home? What if … but there can’t be. You’ve hoped before. But you have learned not to, because you died each time you hoped. Home was a lie. They never stayed; nobody’s stayed and seen you without any polish, any pretense. They’ll stay while you pretend. And then they go. And you swore each time: That was it. I’m done. I will be empty forever, but I will never be deserted again because I will never again ask anyone to stay.
So here is God—God the Incomprehensible, who says come know me. God the All-powerful who chooses to let you choose. God who spun out the stars into the high math of galaxies and then came here, enslaved by choice to the monotone arithmetic of breathing, to the loneliness of a human heartbeat.
And they are trying to tell you this is true. But truth has never sounded like this before. Can anyone believe this? It is not enough just to think it, not enough to say it either. This takes all of you; truth was safe when it was only arguments and theories. There was no fear; no one was asking for your trust.
Suddenly, truth has so much to do with courage. God is here. It sets your heart pounding to admit how close. But you don’t have to admit it. You can keep pretending; honesty is yours to choose. God will not force you. Yes, you are afraid; we are all afraid. But come home anyway. God will not desert you. You have been found, today, by the One who has never broken a promise, the one whose yes is forever.
[Stephanie Gehring is a 24-year-old self-employed portrait artist, high school math tutor, and freelance writer. She spent the first sixteen years of her life in Germany and lives in Portland, Ore.]