I recently watched a movie which reminded me of the one thing that people have in common: the need to belong, to be loved above anything or anyone else – to feel “home”. In this beautiful yet brutal civil war movie, no amount of physical hardship can stand in the way of a soldier’s journey home to the only place where he truly feels loved. So, he trudges across bitter terrain and endures the utter lack of food, shelter, and safety – all to return to where he feels he belongs. He doesn’t even know if his pre-war sweetheart has waited for him. He only has one letter which begs him to return soon, “…if you are fighting, stop your fighting and return to me. If you are marching, stop marching and return to me. Return to me.” So he does. It takes him months, perhaps longer. Yet, nothing deters him because he has to keep moving in the direction of HOPE.
We all do that, don’t we? – move in the direction of hope. The only other option is to give up and die. It is a part of the human condition to experience the desperate need for love, to belong, to be home. It gives us breath – without it we die.
There are people all around us who don’t know where the hope lies. They would give anything to feel that they truly belong. They would traverse any distance if they could only receive the message that there is someone, anyone who would be waiting for them – a place where they would be received and accepted. Don’t we, as Christ-followers, know that such a place exists? We’ve received the message. God has said to us all, “I love you – desperately, passionately, above anything else. Stop marching. Stop fighting. Return to me. Return to me and be home.”
Maybe we need to be reminded of the love-letter in the pocket of our tattered uniform. Maybe we need to read it again to remember what lies in store for us. Maybe we need to get up and get back on the road home. Or maybe we just need to give someone else the message, so they can begin to travel in the direction of hope.