I went to college in the same, relatively small town in which I grew up. In fact, both of my parents worked in higher education, and they both had offices on the university campus. It was not uncommon for me to go by mom or dad’s office, sit down, and talk for a while at odd times during the day. Neither was it uncommon for me to just show up at dinner time when I was tired of eating boxed mac and cheese or cafeteria food. For me, those college days were largely days of “pop-ins.”
My parents made it clear to me that I was always welcome; that I did not need to announce my arrival in advance; that I did not require an appointment. Such was – and is – their great hospitality.
And yet something changed when we left that small town and moved halfway across the country for graduate school. The pop-in visits went away, and there was a sadness with that. But they were replaced with the expected visit.
And there is a great beauty in being expected.
When we would go home, it was an event. There were calls along the way to see how far away we were and when we expected to arrive. We were greeted not in the house but in the driveway. And the food! There were special meals prepared, all of which were made to suit us and our liking.
I can see it even more clearly now, as we are on the verge of sending one child off to college and knowing that it will be weeks – or months – between the time he is home. I can see myself pacing the living room. Checking my watch. Anticipating the rumble of an engine coming up the driveway and the familiar walk into the garage. I can feel it, and my heart hurts, but his will be full.
Because it’s a wonderful thing to be expected.
When you are loved. When you are appreciated. When you are valued and treasured. It is indeed a wonderful thing to know that someone is waiting for you, preparing for you, wanting you to be where they are.
And that beauty of being expected is yet only a shadow of what it means to really be expected:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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” (John 14:1-3).
Can you imagine it?
Of course, it’s wonderful to be expected by a mother and father. It’s great to be expected by siblings and friends. But to be expected by the very Son of God? And to be expected to the degree that preparations have been made?
What a thing. What a thing indeed.
It does our soul good to consider this particular aspect of God’s great love for us – that He desires for us to be with Him where He is, so much so that He is making preparations for us to be there. We are not going to be met one day by a surprised Jesus; we are not going to pop-in to see the Son of God and find that no preparations have been made.
No – we will be coming into a realm in which our arrival has been looked forward to. Even now. We are lovingly, graciously, kindly… expected.
So, Christian, if you look around today and find that you feel lonely or unappreciated; if you find that you don’t seem to fit or can’t get comfortable where you are; if you look around, and find a sense of familiarity but not a sense of home… remember that it’s because you’re not home. At least not yet.
But take heart – you are expected there someday.