A House Becomes a Home


Photo credit: Peoria Journal Star


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.


2 thoughts on “A House Becomes a Home

  1. The first two verses of Psalm 90 are among my favorites! As it was said of Abraham, and the saints of old “They were pilgrims and strangers on earth.” They sought a better country, a city whose builder and maker is God. We get so settled here; that reality of “temporary” wants to slip away.

    I’ve read and seen pictures of the tornadoes and devastation. Awesome & awful! For us it’s a grim news story but if I were standing in his shoes it would feel like everything I’d ever accomplished was wiped away. All my years of work wasted. Thankfully he didn’t lose his true home — his family — and they will realize that more as times goes on and they get back on their feet again.


    • Thank you for sharing Christine. I know they are working through the shock of everything…very sad. I’d like to say I don’t care about stuff, but when you take care of your home it’s hard to let it go. Ultimately all is God’s but it’s still hard.


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