“His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley. I wish I had time to tell you even a few of the tales or one or two of the songs that they heard in that house. All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers, and their hopes.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The house was perfect.
It wasn’t perfect because the food was never burnt, or because the sleep never had nightmares, or the stories had no villains. It wasn’t perfect because no one sang off key, or because all the thoughts were honorable. It wasn’t refreshing because it was endlessly harmonious. It was perfect because it had become a haven of joy, community, and truth.
It was a shelter, tried and true.
I couldn’t help but giggle when I first dove into the world of The Hobbit and read these words. What a whimsical description of home! And oh, how I hope to cultivate a dwelling that mends bruises, tempers, and hopes. One known for fresh chocolate chip cookies, afternoon naps, and evening story telling. One, especially, that leaves no room for evil.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Abide. Dwell. Make your home in this.
The House of His Word is a House of Truth, and it has been built meticulously and vigilantly. From the very moment that lies were first favored over truth, blueprints sprang to life and He promised us redemption. The Architect set this plan in motion and poured His Spirit abundantly into the process.
We are image-bearers abiding in other things – things that push us more toward bondage and less toward freedom. And I know I’m not the only one who sees this evidenced in my thoughts every.dang.day. I choose fear, entitlement, bitterness, and insecurity. Though I know that Truth is offered, I hesitate to move in. Moving in carries far too much commitment.
Sure, I like to visit Truth. But to make it my permanent address? No chance.
Usually, I choose to stay in my rundown back house of lies and fear and doubt. Dilapidated and rundown, the paint chipping and a heater that doesn’t work. Shattered windows reflect my shattered hopes and let in the cold winter chill, against my will.
What foolish creatures we are.
We were never meant to live there. We were never meant to call it home.
For it was with utmost thoughtfulness that The Architect began to restore and renew the brokenness in which we choose to live. Knowing we wouldn’t move in to Truth on our own, He moved in to our brokenness and began to rebuild from the inside out. He gave us a place to call Home in the midst of an ever-breaking world. Brick by brick He built this Home with promises and peace. Insulated with hope and a roof of grace, with candles lit in every room, bringing both a light and a scent that let us know we’re Home.
Peek out the back window and see that the back house is gone. You will have to travel far from Home to encounter the musty smell you once considered fresh air. And lest you be deceived, it will be easier to find than you may wish. Fight the temptation to go back; it won’t be good for you. It never was.
You’ve been given a key to a House of Truth. It’s yours and it’s waiting for you. A fire is kindled, sending robust swirls of smoke up the chimney and out into the snowy air. Coffee is brewing and cookies will be ready the moment you walk in. But you first have to leave the backhouse.
You were meant to make your home here, here in His Word. You were meant to walk in the way of peace. You were meant to choose joy. You were meant to be free.
Where are you dwelling? Where do you call home? And what do you need to do today to move closer to truth… closer to freedom… closer to Home?