Every Thought Captive

There’s No Place Like Home

In my distress I called to the LORD,  
and He answered me.  
Deliver me, O LORD,  
from lying lips,  
from a deceitful tongue.  

What shall be given to you,  
and what more shall be done to you,  
you deceitful tongue?  
A warrior’s sharp arrows,  
with glowing coals of the broom tree!  

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,  
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!  
Too long have I had my dwelling  
among those who hate peace.  
I am for peace,  
but when I speak, they are for war!  

Psalm 120

“Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times and think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…there’s no place like home.’” These are the directions that Dorothy receives at the end of The Wizard of Oz. All she wants is to get home, and this is the roadmap. If only it were that easy for us to get home!

Psalm 120 is the opening track in the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). This is a whole album of pilgrim songs in the key of homesick. They express the heart of God’s people who know that they are not where they want to be and that there’s no place like being home with the Lord. The melody line begins with a longing for home in Psalm 120 and concludes with a focus on the desired destination (the house of the LORD, the holy place, Zion) in Psalm 134. In Psalm 120, the author calls to the Lord in his distress (v. 1), and the cause of that distress seems to be the people and the places which feel so far from home (vv. 2-7).

Can we relate to this sense of dislocation, to this longing for someone and somewhere else? We try to make our home in this world, but it never feels like our forever home. When we experience this disorientation, it often gives birth to what many call “nostalgia.” We want to go back to the home where we grew up, to the time when family seemed to get along, to that season when everyone was around and everything was right. We hear a certain song, and it takes us back and brings a tear to our eyes. We see a picture of someone, and our heart aches. A holiday comes around, and we want to get back to somewhere, but we can’t just close our eyes and tap our heels.

Sometimes nostalgia gets a bad rap. If we’re only talking about childhood homes, glory days, and holiday traditions, we can understand that. But what if the longing is never really about these things? What if there’s a deeper longing beneath the longing? And what if that longing isn’t there by accident, but because the Lord made us in His image—and that includes a memory of home? What if we are homesick, not for some earthly home, but for a home where the LORD God walked in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8)? What if we’re longing, not for a place in our favorite city, but for a place in “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10)?

In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis suggests that there’s something deeper going on with our nostalgia:  

Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.

In the Songs of Ascent, we hear the psalmists expressing that ache, and in the Person of Jesus Christ, we see God Himself coming to save us and bring us home. When we’re suffering, He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” When we’re doubting, He says, “Believe in God; believe also in Me.” And when we’re homesick, He says, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

With a hope like that, how could we not be homesick? Jesus has already cracked the door open, and one day He will return to walk through it with us. Let’s not stop longing for a home where we will trade faith for sight, hope for reality, and homesickness for home. That’s glory and honor beyond all our merits. That’s the healing of our ache. That’s grace. And doesn’t that remind us of another song?

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, [we] have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought [us] safe thus far, and grace will lead [us] home.

About the Author

Photograph of Robby Higginbottom

Robby Higginbottom

Pastor of Community

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Robby Higginbottom was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Beginning in high school, he sensed the Lord calling him to pastoral ministry. Robby is a graduate of Highland Park High School, Duke University, and Redeemer Seminary. He currently serves as Pastor of Community at PCPC. Robby is married to Ann, and they have two children: Will and John.