By Lisa Huddleston
“God provides homes for those who are deserted” (Psalm 68:6, HCSB.)
When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to the once-a-year showing of “The Wizard of Oz” on television. It wasn’t until a girlfriend asked me to watch it at her house one night that I realized that it went from black-and-white to color when Dorothy entered Oz, but I loved it either way. I loved the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion and even the creaky Tin Man. I loved Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, too. I loved those creepy, flying monkeys that always scared the bejeebers out of me, and I loved when the Wicked Witch melted. But most of all, I loved it when Dorothy finally found her way home. She clicked the heels of her ruby red slippers together and said, “There’s no place like home … There’s no place like home … ,” until she woke up in her own little, black-and-white bed surrounded by all those people who loved her. It always made me cry. She was back where she belonged, and she finally knew and appreciated it. It didn’t get any better than that.
Isn’t that the way it is for most of us? We sometimes don’t take the time to appreciate the black-and-white, mundane, but astoundingly gracious, blessings in our lives. We are always on the lookout for the Technicolor, out-of-the-ordinary existence of Oz. So much so that we take for granted the homes in which God has placed us. Yes, God provides our homes. It sounds so simple, but it is deeply profound. Another translation of this same verse says, “God sets the lonely in families” (NIV). Isn’t that intense? He sets us in families. He provides us with homes. He doesn’t leave us lonely or deserted, but He gives us what we need. A place to belong. A place to find love.
For the month of November, our church has a strange, whimsical, little tree set up in the corner of our Welcome Center. On its top is a hand-painted, wooden sign that reads, “Give Thanks,” and placed on a table next to the tree is a basket filled with construction paper leaves and a few markers. The church family has been asked to take some leaves, write down the blessings for which they want to give thanks, and tie them with yarn to the brown, wire branches. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to pause and meditate upon my blessings, but I’ve also been touched and encouraged by reading what others have written. Sweet, ordinary little things that are truly enormous in the joy they bring: friends, family, church, a beautiful fall, a husband, a wife, sweet children, even lipstick! Tiny, sometimes overlooked joys, but the deepest and richest provisions from our Father who knows and desires to meet our every need.
There really is no place like home—the home that God has provided for us this very day and the home that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare for us. What are you thankful for right now? What ordinary thing has God provided to give you an extraordinary blessing? Thank Him today and every day. There’s no place like home!
Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s own temple, come, Raise the song of harvest home.
–“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” Henry Alford