A relatively new phrase making the rounds these days is “forever home.” It refers to a new permanent home that is provided for a pet, usually a cat or dog, which has been rescued from a shelter or some other facility. The forever home offers loving care and a better future for the newest member of the family.
The phrase is also used sometimes to describe the adoption of a child who has been in foster care and is welcomed by a loving family into a new, permanent “forever home.” I just read about a 17-year-old teenager who was adopted and moved to her forever home after spending 4,057 days in foster homes. What a joyous day that must have been for her and her family!
With proper information and supervision, adopting a pet from a shelter, or a child from foster care, to provide a forever home, is a good and noble thing to do. But on a spiritual level the phrase also reminds us that we all have a forever home awaiting us in the future – in heaven.
Jesus told his followers that we do not “belong to this world,” and he repeatedly instructed us to live in such a way that we are prepared for the world to come. “Our citizenship is in heaven,” St. Paul reminds us. (Phil 3:20) And in the Letter to the Hebrews we read that “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.” (13:14)
How does the reality of our forever home affect the way we live here in our temporary shelter on earth? Three things come to mind.
First, knowing that we’re not going to be here forever helps us to establish good priorities and to have a healthy detachment from earthly ambitions and material possessions, from all the “stuff” we accumulate. Second, it motivates us to live good, holy lives, knowing that someday – who knows when – we’ll be held accountable by the Lord for all of our actions, good and bad. And third, it gives us reason to hope, even on the worst of days, for we firmly believe that “the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18)
Something to think about: Are you ready to be rescued by Jesus and taken to your beautiful, new, forever home in heaven? Are you sure?