This morning I watched the news report of the tornados and the devastation they left in Illinois. As the helicopter video panned the area, the path of the tornado was obvious, leaving only the remnants of former houses. It’s disheartening to see what the storm caused. There are too many of these reports lately. This morning’s story included a man who had escaped with his family to his basement. His house was badly damaged but his family was safe. He tried to keep a brave face during the interview but the realization of his loss along with thankfulness for his family’s safety brought him to tears. It was heart wrenching.
That man’s story and reaction reminded me of Jonah’s homework question. It was an essay on the difference between a house and a home. He was to explain his interpretation of the two words and what that meant to the characters in the book the class is reading. This prompted a long discussion because a 12 year old boy just doesn’t think about such things. Before he left for school today, I read over his essay question. His concluded that a house is a structure and a home is where people feel loved. It’s simplistic and profound all at the same time.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. (Psalm 90:1 NIV)
These are the words from a prayer Moses prayed. I imagine he, more than most, understood what if felt like to be homeless. He wandered in the desert before the Lord called him. And when he led the Israelites, it was in the desert again. Along with the others, Moses would pitch a tent and stay there until the Lord told them to move on. You see, although he had no permanent dwelling, he lived under the protection and in the presence of God. It was here that he felt loved. His tent was his home as long as God was with him.
I know the man in the interview this morning was hurting. You see, he realized that his house had become his home. It was where he raised his family and it protected his family as well. This was the structure that held the dearest things in this man’s life. And it is where he was loved.