“Prayer for the Homesick Soul”

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” Psalm 120.1

What is homesickness? It is defined as “a feeling of longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.” If you recall your own childhood, you might have been homesick once while visiting a relative, friend, or even a camp. Below are a couple of examples of parents who received homesick letters from their children who were at camp. (Spelling reflects the child’s grammar).

“Dear Mom and Dad,
Camp is terrible. I am homesick almost every minnut. I tried evrything, and nothing works. I need to come home rite now! Please, please, please come and get me today!” Love, Chuck

“Dear Mom and Dad,
This camp stinks! The cownsillers are all mean and so are the kids. All I want to do is come home. If you don’t come pick me up, I’m going to run away. I swayr. I hate this place!” Your son, Brandon

I remember when I was about six years old. I was overcome with homesickness while visiting my cousin for my first sleepover. Everything was fine throughout the day until bedtime. I guess it had not hit me until then that I would not be near my parents, even though my Aunt and Uncle were nearby. I remember making such a fuss that my dad had to come pick me up and take me home because I would not go to bed.

Psalm 120 is a psalm for a burdened believer who is far from his spiritual homeland and is living among ungodly people who are only for war. In this Psalm, the writer cries out to the Lord in prayer like a child would by writing or calling home from camp. He cries out to the Lord because he depends on no one else but God (vv. 1-2). He seeks deliverance from God from the deceitful tongues that harass him (vv. 3-4). Therefore, he tells God all about his troubles. He is honest about what troubles him, yet he also confesses his sin and repents of his journey with those who hate peace (vv. 5-6). Then, finally, he leaves his burden behind and seeks the peace of God and proclaims it (v. 7).

Being at peace with God means to completely trust in all that He does and says. It’s knowing He is the Great Shepherd who is always there to provide and protect (Psalm. 23). It means letting His peace rule your heart (Colossians. 3:15). It also means to live at peace with all people (Romans. 12:18) and not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:7).

Trusting in the Lord is the sure cure for anxiousness and fear while waiting to go home to be with Him. Therefore, be dependent on the Lord through prayer. Be patient. Be steadfast. Be a peacemaker and be excellent in your behavior. Remember, Christians are sojourners in this world. We are just passing through. Make the best of it and trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Comfort as we have been comforted

“Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 1.3-5

Once during Queen Victoria’s reign, she heard that the wife of a common laborer had lost her baby. Having experienced deep sorrow herself, she felt moved to express her sympathy. So she called on the bereaved woman one day and spent some time with her. After she left, the neighbors asked what the queen had said. “Nothing,” replied the grieving mother. “She simply put her hands on mine, and we silently wept together.” – source unknown

Sometimes the giving of comfort involves the simple act of just being with someone. No words of advice, no action to follow up on, just the simple act of being with someone and holding their hand during their time of grief. Especially if you have been in their place, you know what you would have wanted in being comforted.

The word “comfort” is mentioned six times by Paul in these few verses. The word itself means to be called along side of. The word pictures two objects paralleling each other with the weaker one leaning on the stronger one for support. I have used this word numerous times while cycling with friends. Some days you feel good while riding, yet somedays while climbing a hill you don’t seem to have the energy to make it up. I have on occasion come along side a weaker rider and place my hand on their back and while using the strength in my own legs push them up the hill to encourage them so they do not fall behind. Why do I do that, because someone else has done that for me.

Probably everyone of us have experience afflictions in life. Paul promises that God will “comfort us in ALL our affliction” with the sole purpose “that we will be able to comfort those who are in ANY affliction.” Where does the source of our comfort come from, from Christ and His sufferings and they “are ours in abundance.” They are excessive and abound more than we could ever imagine or think. This is the beauty of God’s grace and the church.

What is our role as comforters? To come along side others and share in their suffering so that they may share in our comfort that comes from God (2 Cor. 1.7). A great book on this is “Comfort the Grieving” by Paul Tautges published by Zondervan. Therefore, comfort one another in Christ.