If I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am. --John 14:3

Home for me will always be my father's house--a log cabin nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina with a light in the window, a fire on the hearth, and a welcome embrace at the door. As I make the four-hour drive from my home to my father's house, my sense of expectancy heightens. Three hours into the journey I have the first glimpse of the mountains-a glimpse that never ceases to thrill me as I begin to climb in altitude through the foothills until I'm enfolded in the valleys and peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My journey ends on a winding, one-lane road with hairpin curves and switchbacks that lead me to the door of my father's house.

The old log cabin, the flagstone steps, the nail-studded door, and the well-worn wooden plank floor of the entrance are not what have quickened my pulse or caused me to make the long drive. My motivation is simply the fact that this is home!

Home! What does that word mean to you? For me, "home" is synonymous with love, acceptance, comfort, and security. It is a place where my needs are met. It is a place where I can take my burdens and lay them down. It is a place not only where I can find answers but where my questions no longer seem to matter. When I feel discouraged under the pressure of responsibilities, or overwhelmed by the problems of daily life, or disappointed by shattered dreams, my heart turns toward that mountain cabin and those whom I love who live there. To go home is to be refreshed in my spirit and refocused in my thoughts and renewed in my strength and restored in my heart. How I love home!

The story is told of an old missionary named Samuel Morrison who, after twenty-five years in Africa, was returning home to the United States to die. As it so happened, he traveled on the same ocean liner that brought President Teddy Roosevelt back from a hunting expedition. When the great ship pulled into New York Harbor, the dock where it was to tie up was jammed with what looked like the entire population of New York City. Bands were playing, banners were waving, choirs of children were singing, multicolored balloons were floating in the air, flashbulbs were popping, and newsreel cameras were poised to record the return of the president.

Mr. Roosevelt stepped down the gangplank to thunderous cheers and applause, showered with confetti and ticker tape. If the crowd had not been restrained by ropes and police, he would have been mobbed!

At the same time, Samuel Morrison quietly walked off the boat. No one was there to greet him. He slipped alone through the crowd. Because of the crush of people there to welcome the president, he couldn't even find a cab. Inside his heart, he began to complain, Lord, the president has been in Africa for three weeks, killing animals, and the whole world turns out to welcome him home. I've given twenty-five years of my life in Africa, serving You, and no one has greeted me or even knows I'm here.

In the quietness of his heart, a gentle, loving voice whispered, But My dear child, you are not home yet!

While I praise God for placing me in an earthly home that so clearly reflects my heavenly home, I am aware even now, when I visit that old log cabin, that I am not really home yet because of Jesus' promise to God's children: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Has your entire life been a series of struggles? Have you been .More sick than well? More defeated than successful? More tired than rested? More alone than accompanied? More empty than satisfied? More hungry than filled? More sad than happy?

Do you feel defeated because after a lifetime of struggle, all you have to look forward to is death and a cold grave? Look up! The Bible teaches us that God is preparing a heavenly home that "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived . . . for those who love him."

Regardless of our circumstances or condition, we can look forward with hope as we glimpse Heaven, My Father's House, which is being prepared as an eternal home for God's people. For you and for me!

As a young girl, my vision of Heaven was framed by my mother's assurance that whatever was necessary for my eternal happiness would be there. So in my child's mind, that included ocean waves, mountain peaks, a favorite pet that had died, Sunday night Bible games with the family, sleepovers at my grandparents' house, Chinese food, and a smaller nose! Over the years, my requirements for eternal happiness have changed, but my dreams are still big.

What kind of home do you think is necessary for your eternal happiness? Do you dream of a cottage by the sea? or a chateau by the lake? or a cabin in the woods? or a penthouse in the city? or a castle on the hill? or a tent on the desert? or a farm in the country? or a palace in the garden?