The Way Home

"I am treading a path of sorrow, but thousands of God's pilgrims have trodden it before me, and He who sustained them in it will also sustain me, for His grace and power are always the same." (From a Letter)

It is a rough road that many whom the Lord loves are treading, but IT IS THE WAY HOME. They are learning as they tread the road that earth can yield no rest for their bruised and tired spirits; but it should cheer them to know that THERE REMAINETH A REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD (Heb. 4:9). Tears of sorrow are often on their cheeks, but their experience of God's ways with them in their homeward journey shall not end in sorrow, for from the lips of JESUS have come those startling and hope-inspiring words, "Blessed are ye that weep now: for YE SHALL LAUGH."

We wish to say to our fellow-travellers to the heavenly home, Don't let the devil dim the eye of your faith or obscure for you the glorious outlook by questions as to whether God is good to you or not; lay firmly hold of His sure word and find strength in the promises of HOME with the REST and holy LAUGHTER that belong to it — blessed compensation for the pilgrimage and the labour and tears of the way to it.

"I have a home above
  From sin and sorrow free,
A mansion which eternal love
  Formed and designed for me."

Not all God's children are tested in the same way in this homeward journey. Some are well acquainted with bodily pain and weakness, with weary days and sleepless nights; others are misunderstood and persecuted by those they long most to bless; many suffer keenly as they see those suffer who are dearer to them than life, and still others have the deeper and, if it were not for the sure hope of resurrection, the darker sorrow that death lays heavily on the heart as he swings his sharp and effective scythe. No wonder that many sigh and weep, nor can we condemn them, for "Jesus wept," and the heart that is not moved by sorrow and trial is a hard and insensible heart.

The Christian in a world of sorrow cannot claim an immunity from tears, nay, it sometimes seems as though he had more weeping times than those who know not God; but God has His own gracious way of bringing forth meat from the eater. He is the great and only true Alchemist who can transmute our tears into priceless gems; He can and does turn that which threatens to be wholly evil into our greatest good, and so the Christian has a deeper joy in his sorrow than the worldling has in his pleasure. And the road along which God leads His children is THE WAY HOME. It is this that we wish to emphasize.

"High in the Father's house above
  Our mansion is prepared;
There is the home, the rest we love,
  And there our bright reward."

The thought of home makes the mariner cheerful in spite of the waves that dash and foam about the ship; he can whistle in the very teeth of the gale if the prow of the boat is turned to port and the sure hand of the skipper holds the helm. And so the Christian can sing, in the joy that the knowledge of Christ's love yields —

"And though by storms assailed,
  And though by trials pressed,
Himself our life He bears us up
  Right onward to our rest."

We want the thought of heaven as our home, and of the One who has made it home for us, and who will come again to take us there, and of the Father whose welcome awaits us, to give our hearts a strong tug in that direction and thrill us with fresh hope.

"Home, home, sweet home:
Our great Friend is Jesus,
And heaven is our home."

There is another thought not less sweet, and most wondrously sustaining, it is that the love that has prepared a home for us beyond the clouds and the sorrow will not neglect us on the way to it. And we have brought together in Hebrews 4 some of the great provisions of God's love for us while we labour to enter into His rest.

THE WORD OF GOD, in verse 12, is that which discerns and makes manifest every thought and intention within us that would make our feet falter in the road home. It comes to us directing our steps, enlightening our path, cleansing our way. It warns us of by-paths, flashes its light upon the devil's snares and pitfalls, it searches the innermost recesses of our souls and rebukes every unbelieving thought that might spring up in our hearts. How priceless is the word of God! how absolutely necessary it is to us and how all-sufficient in its own sphere! God grant that we may never harden our hearts against His word.

THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST, in verses 14 and 15, is also for us; He undertakes our cause in our heaven-bound way. And here is a theme that might well occupy volumes printed in gold, but how little it is understood. The great high Priest is Jesus, the Son of God. Does not the heart swell with holy exultation at the thought of His greatness? The service to which He devotes Himself in this character is that of bearing up His pilgrim saints in intercession before God, and He does this with truest compassion and deepest sympathy. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities — marvellous thought! It means that every pang in every heart that loves Him is felt by Him. You may not be able to understand it; you are not asked to do so, it is too great for your small mind, but He asks you to believe it, and if you don't you will grieve that heart that loves above all things to be trusted. He would have you to believe that He is serving you every hour because He loves you; yes, loves you with the same love that led Him to Calvary for you. The birth pangs do not exhaust the mother's love for her babe; she would be willing to lay down her life for it at any time.

"Yet she may forgetful prove,
  He will never cease to love."

How could He cease to love? He is JESUS. And what does that name mean to us? It tells us of the love that brought Him from the eternal throne to Bethlehem's manger; it tells us of a life of suffering service that led through sorrow and shame and loss to the cross of Calvary; it tells us how His love declared itself there. The waves of death uplifted their awful crests and rolled upon Him to engulf Him; the billows of Satan's power roared about Him to destroy Him, and He went down beneath the deep waters of God's judgment against sin on our behalf. But though He stood for us where all the seas met upon Him, yet was His love not quenched. It burned with a fervent flame amidst the fierce waters, and shed its wondrous light in the darkness of that awful hour, and there it triumphed — and now the Lord is risen.

"And we stand beyond the doom
  Of all our sins through Jesu's empty tomb."

That love has not changed one whit; it is as deeply interested in your welfare today as it was when it bore your sins on the tree. Were it otherwise, Jesus would no longer bear that precious name for us, and we should have neither Saviour, Priest nor home.

But Jesus is the Son of God, for so our text presents Him, and while "JESUS" carries us in thought down to the very depths of the humiliation into which His love carried Him, "THE SON OF GOD" presents His glory, His magnificent greatness, the unmeasured splendour of His Person and inheritance. But there are other thoughts than these in the bringing together of these names and titles that should talk eloquently to our hearts. "Jesus" tells us of His preciousness to us. "The Son of God" tells us of His preciousness to God. "JESUS" TELLS US THAT, SINCE HE LOVES US SO WELL, THERE IS NOTHING THAT WOULD BE GOOD FOR US THAT HE WILL NOT ASK FOR US WHEN HE INTERCEDES BEFORE GOD FOR US; AND "SON OF GOD" TELLS US THAT GOD WILL NOT DENY HIM ANY REQUEST THAT HE MAKES. So that the fact of Jesus the Son of God being our great high Priest means that we are put into contact with the eternal and infinite resources of God, and that eternal and infinite love sets these resources in motion for us, for God loves His Son and Jesus loves us, and Jesus is the Son of God.

Our limited space forbids that we should enlarge upon this most blessed theme, but we would urge upon our readers, and especially those who are passing through trial and sorrow, to consider the High Priest of our profession — Christ Jesus. He it is who can and will sustain you. He has passed through the heavens from the very lowest point of suffering and shame; He has gone to the highest point in glory, and no watchful sentry rang out the challenge, "Halt!" for every gate was thrown open wide for Him to pass triumphantly through, and He is our Forerunner as well as our Priest. He has passed into the glory which is our HOME before us, and for us, and the welcome that He received is the welcome that awaits us. There is not a difficulty or hostile power that He has not met in the way that we travel as we follow Him. He was tempted in all points as we are apart from sin. And now He lives in the glory to succour us with gracious help from thence.

THE THRONE OF GRACE, in verse 16, is also available for us. We may come boldly to it, and when we do we shall discover that our best Friend sits upon it, and there we shall obtain mercy and find grace for seasonable help.

Here are some of our resources, and as we draw upon them we shall hold the full assurance of hope to the end, and THE END IS HOME.