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TITLE: Going Home First Class
By Carmen Redding
03/18/11
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An encoraging devotional message for ordinary people with an extraordinary destination.
16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. ( Hebrews 11:16 NASB)

When I was a teenager, my father, who seldom missed a day of work, had to be hospitalized with thrombophlebitis. This was particularly dangerous because he had a heart condition. When he was given a clean bill of health by his doctor, he returned to work only to find a “pink slip” taped to his locker. He removed his white chef’s uniform from the locker and came home. Every day he would go out looking for work, and every night he would come home discouraged.

My parents never discussed their concerns with us, so it surprised me when I was told my mother was taking us to New York to visit my grandparents for the summer. Looking back, I realize that money was probably getting scarce and my mother was sent home to give my father time to find a job or to explore the possibility of moving back to New York.

When we arrived, we moved into our grandparent’s basement. During that time, my mother borrowed an industrial sewing machine from my aunt and took in “piece work” from a local factory. She would sit at the sewing machine most of the day. When she had to get up to cook or go out somewhere. I would take her place at the sewing machine.

I missed my father, I missed my home; I hated the basement, the sewing machine dust that affected my allergies, and the darkness that affected my mood. I prayed every day that my father would find a job and we could go home. My prayer was answered when a letter came with good news of a new job, a better one, at the Atlantic Beach Hotel.

I sewed myself a new dress for the trip home. Though I loved my grandparents, I was ready to leave the dark basement and go home to the sunshine and palm trees of home. When we boarded the plane, it was very crowded. We were in the coach section.

After take-off, the stewardess came right up to me and asked me whether my brothers and I would like to move to the First Class compartment. I was surprised that my mother allowed it. First Class was wonderful. Instead of a sandwich or peanuts, we had Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Traveling First Class was pretty exciting, but nothing can compare to the joy I felt when I was able to embrace my father. He held me tight for a long moment, and I knew how much he loved me and how much he had missed me. I was home!

Sometimes being away from our heavenly Father is like living in that basement or traveling in the coach section. Sometimes life is hard. We toil daily to earn a living. We struggle with illnesses and we long for good news. Someday, however, all our struggles will be over, and Jesus will be waiting to embrace us. First Class will pale in comparison to our heavenly home, where we can be with the Lord forever.

Dearest Heavenly Father,
You are sovereign and all-knowing. We are not. When life gets hard, we have questions. We bring them honestly and openly to you, not necessarily for an answer, but seeking your comfort and your embrace. Lord, there are so many in our own little church who are ill, who have lost jobs, who suffer the consequences of broken relationships with loved ones, and even with you. An ocean away, there are people whose lives have been threatened by an earthquake, a tsunami, and now radiation. We ask for your comfort, your embrace, and your healing. Give all who suffer a sign of your presence. Give them hope and faith to build upon what remains.

In the name of Jesus, who suffered and died for us,
Amen
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