I was reading a daily devotional this morning in which the author was writing about lament, describing it as the only appropriate response at times to so many of the harsh realities in this world--death, poverty, hunger, homelessness, injustice, etc. In the midst of the devotional, one line jumped out at me: "The cry of pain is our deepest acknowledgment that we are not home."
That thought in turn triggered a mental association with the song by Building 429 entitled "Where I Belong." I had a chance to hear them perform that song this past summer after a Kansas City Royals game. I had heard it frequently before on the local Christian radio station and have always enjoyed both the music and the text.
The chorus goes, "All I know is I'm not home yet, this is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus; this is not where I belong."
The song echoes a sentiment that has been repeatedly expressed down through the centuries. It's a central message in the book of Hebrews where the writer says of Abraham that he lived as an alien in the land of promise, dwelling in tents as he looked for the city whose architect and builder is God. Of the others listed in the Hall of Fame (chapter 11), the writer of Hebrews adds, "And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."
The biblical longing for an eternal home where our true citizenship lies was the central theme of so many of the Negro spirituals, giving witness again to the fact that suffering and hardship remind us that we are not made for this world and that the God of justice and mercy will one day right all wrongs and settle all accounts.
On this day of national elections in the U.S., it's good to remember that our ultimate allegiance is not to be pledged to an American flag, but to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him.